HawkWatch International has conducted research over the years to evaluate the possible threats that energy development projects pose to raptors and their habitat.
As wind farm projects began to dot the western landscape, HWI started the Wise Wind in the West project using our long-term datasets to determine raptor-safe areas to place new energy developments. We continue to work with wind companies to determine whether a particular western mountain ridge would offer low-impact locations for a wind farm before construction begins. Read more about our Wise Wind in the West project.
In 2006, HWI conducted a three-year project called Raptor Radii to research the disturbance of oil and gas extraction activities on nesting raptors in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. We continue to monitor the effects these evolving activities have on raptors during nesting and wintering seasons.
Electric Power Lines
Raptors often perch on utility poles, and because of their large wingspans (up to 7’ for eagles), some species are susceptible to electrocution as they land or take off from the poles. Raptors of nearly every species throughout the west have been reported killed by electrocution. HawkWatch International joined forces with Rocky Mountain Power in 2001-2002 on a program to reduce the electrocution risk to raptors and large birds. In surveying 11,000 poles that initial year, Rocky Mountain Power used the data to identify high-risk poles and retrofit those poles to make them “raptor-safe”. The retrofitting included the installation of higher perches above the lines, equipment that covers one of the central lines, or the replacement of a crossarm. Learn more about our research by reading our past reports and publications.