Testing efficacy of bird deterrents at wind turbine facilities: a pilot study in Nova Scotia, Canada
Wind energy has become one of the fastest-growing renewable electricity sources globally, and this trend is expected to continue. However, wind turbines cause avian mortality when birds collide with these structures. Although regulatory agencies in many jurisdictions require post-construction bird mortality monitoring at turbine sites, resulting mortality estimates are often imprecise and under-reported. This uncertainty is often attributed to searcher inefficiencies or scavenger losses. Furthermore, data regarding the effectiveness of active bird mortality mitigation at these facilities are also lacking. This pilot study assessed mitigation effectiveness of visual and audio deterrents, using predator owl deterrent models and bioacoustic alarm and predator calls deployed at a wind turbine facility in Nova Scotia, Canada. These deterrents did not deter birds from wind turbines in statistically significant ways, in comparison to control sites. Whilst results were inconclusive, it would be prudent to continue assessing mitigative options to minimize impacts on birds, considering the expected growth of the wind energy sector in Canada.
Keywords: Wind energy development; Wind turbines; Bird mortality monitoring; Bird deterrents; Bird mortality mitigation