Data from: Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies
Published Sep 13, 2019 on Dryad.
Cite this dataset
Thaxter, Chris et al. (2019). Data from: Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q6bq8sm
1. Wind energy generation has become an important means to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate against human-induced climate change, but could also represent a significant human-wildlife conflict. Airborne taxa such as birds may be particularly sensitive to collision mortality with wind turbines, yet the relative vulnerability of species’ populations across their annual life cycles has not been evaluated. 2. Using GPS telemetry, we studied the movements of lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus from three UK breeding colonies through their annual cycle. We modelled the distance travelled by birds at altitudes between the minimum and maximum rotor sweep zone of turbines, combined with the probability of collision, to estimate sensitivity to collision. Sensitivity was then combined with turbine density (exposure) to evaluate spatio-temporal vulnerability. 3. Sensitivity was highest near to colonies during the breeding season, where a greater distance travelled by birds was in concentrated areas where they were exposed to turbines. 4. Consequently, vulnerability was high near to colonies but was also high at some migration bottlenecks and wintering sites where, despite a reduced sensitivity, exposure to turbines was greatest. 5. Synthesis and applications. Our framework combines bird-borne telemetry and spatial data on the location of wind turbines to identify potential areas of conflict for migratory populations throughout their annual cycle. This approach can aid the wind farm planning process by: (1) providing sensitivity maps to inform wind farm placement, helping minimise impacts; (2) identifying areas of high vulnerability where mitigation warrants exploration; (3) highlighting potential cumulative impacts of developments over international boundaries; and (4) informing the conservation status of species at protected sites. Our methods can identify pressures and linkages for populations using effect-specific metrics that are transferable and could help resolve other human-wildlife conflicts.
Gridded tracking data for estimation of sensitivity and vulnerability of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) to wind farm collision risk
Metrics derived from GPS telemetry of individual Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) throughout the year at three UK breeding colonies. Data are summarised per grid square across the spatial range of birds. Metrics in the file include the mean time spent and mean speed of travel per square for all movements, in flight activity, and for movements within the collision risk window (CRW) - see associated readme file. Mean distances travelled per square in the CRW are then calculated for each square and are used to estimate spatio-temporal sensitivity.