Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 1755–1767 | Cite as

An analysis of displacement from wind turbines in a wintering grassland bird community

  • T. K. Stevens
  • A. M. Hale
  • K. B. Karsten
  • V. J. Bennett
Original Paper

Abstract

Wind energy development is rapidly increasing within breeding and wintering ranges of many grassland birds in North America. Despite recognized environmental benefits of such development, wind farms have the potential to negatively impact bird communities. Using an area-search method, we surveyed grassland birds within a matrix of pastures, hay fields, and agricultural lands at a wind facility in north-central Texas during the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. We used binary logistic regression to examine the effect of distance from wind turbines on plot occupancy for species that did not show significant habitat associations. In contrast, for species with significant habitat associations, we used a two-step process to test for displacement. First, we identified suitable plots using a niche modeling approach in Maxent. Second, we used binary logistic regression to examine whether distance to turbine influenced the occupancy of those plots. Sprague’s Pipit Anthusspragueii, Savannah Sparrow Passerculussandwichensis, and meadowlarks Sturnella sp. showed no evidence for displacement. In contrast, the Le Conte’s Sparrow Ammodramusleconteii, was significantly more likely to occupy suitable plots as distance from the nearest turbine increased. Mean plot occupancy for the Le Conte’s Sparrow was more than four times lower in plots <200 m from the nearest wind turbine compared to those that were >400 m away. Our study highlights the need to investigate displacement at the level of individual species. Our data also suggest that species dependent on cryptic predator evasion strategies may be displaced from wind turbines and this idea warrants further investigation.

Keywords

Avoidance behavior Habitat degradation Indirect effects North American grasslands Renewable energy 

References

  1. Askins RA, Chavez-Ramirez F, Dal BC, Haas CA, Herkert JR, Knope FL, Vickery PD (2007) Conservation of grassland birds in North America: understanding ecological processes in different regions. Ornithol Monogr 64:1–46Google Scholar
  2. Brennan LA, Kuvlesky WP (2005) North American grassland birds: an unfolding conservation crisis? J Wildl Manag 69:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler AB, Martin JA, Palmer WE, Carroll JP (2009) Winter use of south Florida dry prairie by two declining grassland passerines. Condor 111:511–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Compton BW, Rhymer JM, McCollough M (2002) Habitat selection by wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta): an application of paired logistic regression. Ecology 83:833–843Google Scholar
  5. Devereux CL, Denny MJH, Whittingham MJ (2008) Minimal effects of wind turbines on the distribution of wintering farmland birds. J Appl Ecol 45:1689–1694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Diamond DD, Smeins FE (1984) Remnant grassland vegetation and ecological affinities of the upper coastal prairie of Texas. Southwest Nat 29:321–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Douglas DJT, Bellamy PE, Pearce-Higgins JW (2011) Changes in the abundance and distribution of upland breeding birds at an operational wind farm. Bird Study 58:37–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Drewitt AL, Langston RHW (2006) Assessing the impacts of wind farms on birds. Ibis 148:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunning J (2001) New world Sparrows. In: Elphick C, Dunning J, Sibley D (eds) The Sibley guide to bird life and behavior. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, pp 516–535Google Scholar
  10. Elith J, Graham CH, Anderson RP, Dudík M, Ferrier S, Guisan A, Hijmans RJ, Huettmann F, Leathwick JR, Lehmann A, Li J, Lohmann LG, Loiselle BA, Manion G, Moritz C, Nakamura M, Nakazawa Y, Overton JM, Peterson AT, Phillips SJ, Richardson K, Scachetti-Pereira R, Schapire RE, Soberón J, Williams S, Wisz MS, Zimmermann NE (2006) Novel methods improve prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography 29:129–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fielding AH, Bell JF (1997) A review of methods for the assessment of prediction errors in conservation presence/absence models. Environ Conserv 24:38–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fletcher RJ, Dhundale JA, Dean TF (2000) Estimating non-breeding season bird abundance in prairies: a comparison of two survey techniques. J Field Ornithol 71:321–329Google Scholar
  13. Griffith GE, Bryce SB, Omernik JM, Rogers A (2007) Ecoregions of Texas. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, AustinGoogle Scholar
  14. Grzybowski JA (1982) Population structure in grassland bird communities during winter. Condor 84:137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grzybowski JA (1983) Sociality of grassland birds during winter. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 13:211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hernandez PA, Graham CH, Master LL, Albert DL (2006) The effect of sample size and species characteristics on performance of different species distribution modeling methods. Ecography 29:773–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hirzel AH, Le Lay GI (2008) Habitat suitability modeling and niche theory. J Appl Ecol 45:1372–1381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Igl LD, Ballard BM (1999) Habitat associations of migrating and overwintering grassland birds in southern Texas. Condor 101:771–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keating KA, Cherry S (2004) Use and interpretation of logistic regression in habitat selection studies. J Wildl Manag 68:774–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kiesecker JM, Evans JS, Fargione J, Doherty K, Foresman KR, Kunz TH, Naugle D, Nibbelink NP, Niemuth ND (2011) Win-win for wind and wildlife: a vision to facilitate sustainable development. PLoS One 6:e17566PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Knight DH (1994) Methods for sampling vegetation: an instruction manual for botany 4700. University of Wyoming, LaramieGoogle Scholar
  22. Knopf FL (1994) Avian assemblages on altered grasslands. Stud Avian Biol 15:247–257Google Scholar
  23. Kuvlesky WP, Brennan LA, Morrison ML, Boydston KK, Ballard BM, Bryant FC (2007) Wind energy development and wildlife conservation: challenges and opportunities. J Wildl Manag 71:2487–2498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lammers WM, Collopy MW (2007) Effectiveness of avian predator perch deterrents on electrical transmission lines. J Wildl Manag 71:2752–2758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leddy KL, Higgins KF, Naugle DE (1999) Effects of wind turbines on upland nesting birds in conservation reserve program grasslands. Wilson Bull 111:100–104Google Scholar
  26. Macias-Duarte A, Panjabi AO (2013) Association of habitat characteristics with winter survival of a declining grassland bird in Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of Mexico. Auk 130:141–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Macias-Duarte A, Montoya AB, Mendez-Gonzalez CE, Rodriguez-Salazar JR, Hunt WG, Krannitz PG (2009) Factors influencing habitat use by migratory grassland birds in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. Auk 126:896–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marra PP, Hobson KA, Holmes RT (1998) Linking winter and summer events in a migratory bird using stable carbon isotopes. Science 282:1884–1886PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pearce-Higgins JW, Stephen L, Langston RHW, Bainbridge IP, Bullman R (2009) The distribution of breeding birds around upland wind farms. J Appl Ecol 46:1323–1331Google Scholar
  30. Pearce-Higgins JW, Stephen L, Douse A, Langston RHW (2012) Greater impacts of wind farms on bird populations during construction than subsequent operation: results of a multi-site and multi-species analysis. J Appl Ecol 49:386–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pearson RG, Thuiller W, Araujo MB, Martinez-Meyer E, Brotons L, McClean C, Miles L, Segurado P, Dawson TP, Lees DC (2006) Model-based uncertainty in species range prediction. J Biogeogr 33:1704–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pearson RG, Raxworthy CJ, Nakamura M, Peterson AT (2007) Predicting species distributions from small numbers of occurrence records: a test case using cryptic geckos in Madagascar. J Biogeogr 34:102–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peterjohn BG, Sauer JR (1999) Population status of North American grassland birds from the North American breeding bird survey, 1966–1996. Stud Avian Biol 19:27–44Google Scholar
  34. Phillips SJ, Anderson RP, Schapire RE (2006) Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecol Model 190:231–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pruett CL, Patten MA, Wolfe DH (2009) Avoidance behavior by prairie grouse: implications for development of wind energy. Conserv Biol 23:1253–1259PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pulliam HR, Mills GS (1977) The use of space by wintering sparrows. Ecology 58:1393–1399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rich TD, Beardmore CJ, Berlanga H, Blancher PJ, Bradstreet MSW, Butcher GS, Demarest DW, Dunn EH, Hunter WC, Iñigo-Elias EE, Kennedy JA, Martell AM, Panjabi AO, Pashley DN, Rosenberg KV, Rustay CM, Wendt JS, Will TC (2004) Partners in flight North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  38. Roberts JP, Schnell GD (2006) Comparison of survey methods for wintering grassland birds. J Field Ornithol 77:46–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith MD, Barbour PJ, Burger LW Jr, Dinsmore SJ (2005) Density and diversity of overwintering birds in managed field borders in Mississippi. Wilson Bull 117:258–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Twedt DJ, Hamel PB, Wodrey MS (2008) Winter bird population studies and project prairie birds for surveying grassland birds. Southeast Nat 7:11–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vickery PD, Herkert JR (2001) Recent advances in grassland bird research: where do we go from here? Auk 118:11–15Google Scholar
  42. Wise MS, Hijmans RJ, Li J, Peterson AT, Graham CH, Guisan A, NCEAS Predicting Species Distributions Working Group (2008) Effects of sample size on the performance of species distribution models. Divers Distrib 14:763–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. K. Stevens
    • 1
  • A. M. Hale
    • 2
  • K. B. Karsten
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • V. J. Bennett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Environmental Studies, School of Geology, Energy and the EnvironmentTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyCalifornia Lutheran UniversityThousand OaksUSA

Personalised recommendations