Researchers at the National Research Council (CSIC) have designed an indicator that can establish the relationship between bird abundance and location of wind turbines, so that it could minimize the number of deaths from the bird impact.

To install a wind farm in Spain is necessary to adopt an environmental impact assessment and an analysis of the points is its influence on the birds of the environment, for which the procedure is to count the number of birds that fly over the area before its construction.

However, CSIC researcher at the University Pablo de Olavide, Martina Reel, has stressed that this method has a “wide margin of error” because there may be fluctuations in busy areas by birds, for example, if there is a change position of food sources. “This count does not reflect the real relationship between the abundance of birds and their mortality,” she added.

Therefore, the team proposes the use of other descriptive variables of abundance consider the distance and size of breeding colonies and roosts for the species to develop an index to establish areas where the installation of wind turbines is “highly dangerous”.

The research used data from location and size of breeding colonies and roosts vultures in the province of Cadiz, and the situation of the 34 wind turbines wind farms in operation in the area ceded by the Board of Andalusia.

Thus, during the study, which began in 1998 and completed in 2008, 342 vultures were found dead in collisions with wind turbines of these facilities. The results show, according to the CSIC, the indicator developed is able to explain faithfully vulture mortality in these parks.

“A smaller distance between the turbines and roosting colonies of the species, combined with a high number of birds that use them, increasing the probability of collision,” says Roll, who also notes that “the mortality of this species in wind farms is concentrated in a few turbines. In this particular study area, all crashes were concentrated in 11 percent of the turbines. ”

Thus, the CSIC has stated that this work demonstrates that, if you have detailed information on the distribution of vulture colonies and their size can be spatial planning of wind farms and minimize mortality of these birds, which would make “effective” tool.

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