|Above Left: A California Gull, as shown above, was one of only two birds killed by a turbine strike during the study period. The other was a Rock Pigeon. This indicates that the turbines seem to have a minimal effect on bird species, though future research will be needed to confirm such conclusions. Photo by Will Elder, NPS. Above Right: Though this study suggests that the turbines are minimally dangerous to Crissy Field bird species, we hope others will be inspired to conduct more extensive research on the relationship between vertical axis wind turbines and wildlife populations. Our hope is to learn more about factors that may contribute to turbine strikes, such as bird type, wind speed or time of day.
Since the study’s completion at the end of 2013, two birds were found to have been killed by a turbine strike. In the beginning of the study, the only victim was a single Rock Pigeon. A second Rock Pigeon carcass was found on site with no external injuries, and was probably not killed by a turbine strike. Only one more bird carcass was found killed in the latter stages of the study--a California Gull. These findings suggest that the wildlife impact for these particular turbines was minimal. Additionally, no migratory birds or endangered species were affected during the length of this study. More research should continue in the future to confirm whether or not our findings apply to other vertical axis wind turbine arrays.
Using the data
While this study provided very interesting and useful information for those who monitor the wind turbines at the Crissy Field Center, the hope is that it will inspire others to begin similar research projects examining the effects of other small vertical axis wind turbine arrays on wildlife populations. We hope to learn more about the likelihood of a bird strike, and if it is dependent on species type, wind speed, time of day, time of year, or a specific turbine. With more information we can begin to understand where it is safe for vertical axis wind turbines to be constructed, thereby allowing us to make predictions about how this developing technology is affecting our world.