High-resolution modeling of uplift landscapes can inform micrositing of wind turbines for soaring raptors
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Collision risk of soaring birds is partly associated with updrafts to which they are attracted. To ident ify the risk-enhancinglandscape features, a micrositing tool was developed to model orographic and thermal updraft velocities from high-resolution remote sensing data. The tool was applied to the island of Hitra, and validated using GPS-tracked white-tailedeagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Resource selection functions predicted that eagles preferred ridges with high orographic uplift,especially at ﬂight altitud es within the rotor-swept zone (40–110 m). Flight activity was negatively associated with thewidely distributed areas with high thermal upli ft at lower ﬂight altitudes (<110 m). Both the existing wind-power plant andplanned extension are placed at locations rendering maximum orographic updraft velocities around the minimum sink ratefor white-tailed eagles (0.75 m/s) but slightly higher therm al updraft velocities. The tool can contribute to improvemicrositing of wi nd turbines to reduce the environmental impacts, especially for soaring Raptors.