Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Nocturnal Bird and Bat Migration through the Appalachians
Concerns have arisen about the potential impacts of wind power development in the Appalachians on migrating birds and bats, creating a critical need for information on their distribution and flight characteristics as they pass through the region. USGS is studying the distribution and flight patterns of birds and bats that migrate at night. Weather surveillance radar data are being analyzed to provide a broad view of spring and fall migration through the Appalachians, and to assess the response of migrants to mountain ridges or other prominent landforms. USGS is also conducting acoustic monitoring at 29 sites scattered through the central Appalachians, recording the calls made by migrating birds in flight to index their abundance and species composition at different locations. The acoustic monitoring is supplemented with portable radar sampling at three sites, to provide additional data on the passage of migrants, including their flight altitudes and directions. The data will be used to model the effects of topography, weather, and other variables on migrant abundance and flight to assess where and when migrants might be at risk from wind power development. Project partners include the USFWS Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, New Jersey Audubon Society, the USDA Forest Service (Monongahela National Forest, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests), Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy of Virginia, and the Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
Contact Deanna Dawson for more information.