• Assessing California's Relocation Guidelines for Burrowing Owls Impacted by Renewable Energy Development.

      Hennessy, Sarah McCullough; Wisinski, Colleen; Ronan, Noelle; Gregory, Chris; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Nordstrom, Lisa A. (California Energy Commission, 2020)
      Once common and widespread throughout the western United States and Canada, the western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) population has declined to the point where the species is now designated as a Species of Special Concern in California. Their presence in development areas, including renewable energy facilities, necessitates an effective strategy for protecting them. This study is the first of its kind to test both passive and active relocation techniques with burrowing owls and evaluate their relative effectiveness with and without the addition of conspecific cues (such as acoustic playback of owl calls and imitation whitewash to attract the owls)....
    • Assessing potential impacts of solar power facilities on wildlife utilizing animal behavior research

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Clucas, B.; Peterson, E.K.; Blackwell, B.F.; Blumstein, D.T.; Church, K.; Fernández-Juricic, E.; Francescoli, G.; Greggor, A.L.; Kemp, P.; et al. (Virtual, 2021)
      Utility-scale solar power is a rapidly expanding renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands. Solar facilities have large footprints across previously undeveloped habitat, particularly the American Southwest. Despite the scale of this industry, research is scarce on how construction and operation of facilities affect wildlife. We conducted a research-prioritization process to identify key questions to better understand how wildlife is affected by solar facilities and how behavioral data can be used to mitigate negative impacts. Behavioral responses are often the most visible signs of detrimental effects, as behavioral shifts are usually an animal’s first response to environmental change. We asked professionals in the fields of ecology, conservation, and energy to identify important research questions, then held a workshop to reduce and clarify these questions. The priority research areas that emerged included animal perception of solar facilities, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions.
    • Evaluating potential effects of solar power facilities on wildlife from an animal behavior perspective

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Clucas, Barbara; Peterson, Elizabeth K.; Blackwell, Bradley F.; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Church, Kathleen; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban; Francescoli, Gabriel; Greggor, Alison L.; Kemp, Paul; et al. (2021)
      Solar power is a renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. However, research is scarce on how solar facilities affect wildlife. With input from professionals in ecology, conservation, and energy, we conducted a research-prioritization process and identified key questions needed to better understand impacts of solar facilities on wildlife. We focused on animal behavior, which can be used to identify population responses before mortality or other fitness consequences are documented. Behavioral studies can also offer approaches to understand the mechanisms leading to negative interactions (e.g., collision, singeing, avoidance) and provide insight into mitigating effects. Here, we review how behavioral responses to solar facilities, including perception, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions are priority research areas. Addressing these themes will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of solar power on wildlife and guide future mitigation.
    • Hunters versus hunted: New perspectives on the energetic costs of survival at the top of the food chain

      Williams, Terrie M.; Jørgensen, Mads Peter-Heide; Pagano, Anthony M.; Bryce, Caleb M. (2020)
      Global biotic and abiotic threats, particularly from pervasive human activities, are progressively pushing large, apex carnivorous mammals into the functional role of mesopredator. Hunters are now becoming the hunted….