Post-fledging movements of white-tailed eagles: Conservation implications for wind-energy development
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The presence of poorly sited wind farms raises concerns for wildlife, including birds of prey. Therefore, there is a need to extend the knowledge of the potential human–wildlife conflicts associated with wind energy. Here, we report on the movements and habitat use of post-fledging satellite-tagged white-tailed eagles in Finland, where wind-energy development is expected to increase in the near future. In particular, we examine the probability of a fledgling approaching a hypothetical turbine that is placed at different distances from the nest. We found that this probability is high at short distances but considerably decreases with increasing distances to the nest. A utilisation–availability analysis showed that the coast was the preferred habitat. We argue that avoiding construction between active nests and the shoreline, as well as adopting the currently 2-km buffer zone for turbine deployment, can avoid or minimise potential impacts on post-fledging white-tailed eagles.
KeywordsWind energy Post-fledging White-tailed eagle Movements Habitat use Conservation
We are grateful to the WWF White-Tailed Eagle Working Group, which financed data collection and whose volunteers fitted the satellite transmitters, and to Pertti Saurola for managing the data and giving valuable feedback. Otso Ovaskainen was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant n. 250444); Fabio Balotari-Chiebao was funded by CAPES, an agency under the Ministry of Education of Brazil; Asko Ijäs and Alexandre Villers were funded by the European Regional Development Fund via the ELY Centre for Southwest Finland (Project n. A31454).
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