7 Year Study Finds Greater Prairie Chickens Not Greatly Affected by Wind Power

Posted on July 11, 2013

A seven year study has found that greater prairie chickens are not greatly affected by wind power. They study was led by Brett Sandercock, professor of biology at Kansas State University. Sandercock and his team discovered that wind turbines have little effect on the chickens. The researcher say these grassland birds are more affected by rangeland management practices and by the availability of native prairie and vegetation cover at nest sites. Surprisingly, the scientists also found that female survival rates increased after wind turbines were installed.

Sandercock and his team started their study in 2006 with three field sites that were chosen for wind development: a site. One of the sites, The Smoky Hills site, was developed into a wind energy site. This gave researchers the opportunity to observe greater prairie chickens before, during and after wind turbine construction. The birds were studied for seven breeding seasons.

Sandercock said in a statement, "We don't have evidence for really strong effects of wind power on prairie chickens or their reproduction. We have some evidence for females avoiding the turbines, but the avoidance within the home range doesn't seem to have an impact on nest site selection or nest survival."

The research report can be found here on osti.gov.

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