Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project

OA 93: Ecology, Habitat Use, and Impacts of Wind Energy on Burrowing Owls.

May 2019 - September 2021


Participating Agencies

  • CNS Pantex

Burrowing owls are small owl that are of substantial conservation concern across their breeding distribution in the prairies and steppes of North America, both areas of high wind energy development. Wind energy facilities have been demonstrated to pose threats to avian species, including direct mortality of burrowing owls.

Wind energy development is increasing at a rapid pace throughout much of the developed world. Of avian species experiencing mortality due to collision with wind turbines, raptors appear to be the most vulnerable and may experience proportionally greater population level influences through direct mortality or habitat loss associated with wind energy development.

This project is being funded by DOE/Consolidated Nuclear Securities/Pantex.

Our study will provide comparison data between burrowing owl breeding pairs in context of site occupancy, productivity, and habitat use in areas with and without wind energy development. This will allow assessments of their response to wind energy development and the potential direct and indirect influence of the structures. This will provide important data with which to understand and evaluate risks and determine the need for conservation actions in context of renewable energy development.