Writing for The Hartford Courant, Janice Podsada talks with Todd Katzner about how the flight of golden eagles may alter wind farms’ path:
Researcher Todd Katzner and the U.S. Department of Energy are tailing the same slightly ruffled, strawberry blond: an Eastern golden eagle that winters in Connecticut, summers in Quebec, and is equipped with a tiny cellphone. Wingspan, 7 feet. Weight, 14 pounds. Appearance, magnificent.
The eagle’s flight path could alter the course of wind farm development on the East Coast.
Birds and wind turbines share an affinity for windy mountain ridgelines, putting them on a potential collision course, said Katzner, one of a dozen researchers studying the golden eagle’s migratory habits and hangouts.
Golden eagles use the “lift,” or updraft, created by surface winds hitting sloped terrain hillsides and mountains to soar.
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But the steep ridgelines that permit golden eagles and bald eagles to hitch a ride on the wind as they migrate north and south are the same gusty high points preferred by wind-turbine developers, said Katzner, professor of wildlife and fisheries resources at West Virginia University in Morgantown, whose golden eagle tracking project is funded by several sources, including the DOE.
And golden eagles are more apt to be killed by 300-foot to 500-foot-tall wind turbines than other raptors because of their hunting methods, experts say. In California, wind farms in the Altamont Pass area east of Oakland kill an estimated 70 goldens each year, said Katzner, citing a recent bird mortality study.
For the full story, visit The Hartford Courant.
Additional news stories about Katzner’s research can be found at the links below:
Golden eagle’s ‘backpack’ winging back data – Telegram and Gazette
Tuscarora State Forest helps track golden eagles for migration survey – Perry County Times
Rare Golden Eagle Tracked Through Migration – OurAmazingPlanet