The Great Plains is home to nesting Bald Eagles. In Oklahoma, Bald Eagles nest along rivers and lakes, and also in upland regions away from large bodies of water. The goal of this research was to acquire information that would give wildlife managers and energy developers the ability to make sound and scientifically based decisions to address potential conflict between Bald Eagles and wind turbines.
This project was conducted from 2016-2018. During that time, we tagged 14 Bald Eagles (11 nestlings and 3 rehabilitated eagles) with light-weight GPS telemetry units that will track their movements at intervals as frequent as 4 seconds. The units provide information on location, flight speed, flight altitude and direction, activity rate as measured by an accelerometer, and other diagnostic information.
We used telemetry of Bald Eagles in south-central Oklahoma to produce highly detailed data on how and where they fly and use airspace. We analyzed these data in the context of topography, weather and land cover to gain an understanding of what environmental conditions and eagle responses to those conditions may put them at risk from wind turbines.
This project was conducted by scientists at the US Geological Survey in collaboration biologists at Conservation Science Global, West Virginia University, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation with funding support from Enel Green Power North America, Inc.