The federal government is getting ready to issue its first eagle-take permit for a wind power project in Wyoming.
Normally, killing eagles is illegal. But the five-year permits allow wind companies to kill a certain number of eagles without penalty.
The Power Company of Wyoming hasn’t actually applied for a permit for its Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind project in Carbon County yet, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has started asking for public input in anticipation that it will.
A smartphone app that’s trying to raise awareness about conflicts between wind turbines and birds saw a spike in downloads after a settlement over eagle deaths at wind farms in Wyoming was announced last week.
The game is called WingWhackers, and the premise is pretty simple. You’re a protected bird of some kind -- an eagle, an owl, a hawk, and you need to make it home with dinner, through a field of spinning wind turbines.
A wind energy company that was fined a million dollars Friday for the deaths of 14 golden eagles at its Wyoming facilities says it’s making strides to mitigate future bird deaths.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Tammie McGee says Duke has removed rock piles that can attract prey and employs field biologists who send out alerts if turbines need to be shut down. She says they’re also working to install a radar system.
Wyoming wind farms have killed more than 30 eagles in the last five years, according to a new study by several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists. That’s more than any state except for California -- and that’s despite Wyoming having relatively few wind turbines.
We’re joined now by Charles Preston. He’s the senior curator at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, and he’s overseeing a research project involving golden eagles in the Bighorn Basin. The first goal of the project is to get baseline numbers on eagles in the area. Then, they’re looking at how human disturbances – like energy development, or just people recreating – are affecting the birds.