The potential impact of bird collision with turbines will always be a key component of post-construction wind farm ecology monitoring and Fatality Monitoring (or carcass searching) forms the basis of this. It is in this specialist area that INIS Ecology has made important and substantial advances, in which your project can share.
Traditionally, human searchers are used to recover carcasses near wind farms. However, in recent years the accuracy of this approach has been questioned and the use of dogs has been deemed more efficient for precise recovery:
“Dogs can cover a large area quickly and are far more effective than people in finding evidence of mortalities. In one study, dogs found 78 per cent of placed carcasses, compared to human searchers who found just 21 per cent. Since dogs rely on smell not sight, they are also much better than people at finding small carcasses, regardless of the state of decomposition. The vastly improved detection rates that can be achieved by using dogs will yield much more accurate figures – in the interests of both wind farm developers and conservationists alike. Using dogs makes sense.”
Increased Accuracy – At INIS Ecology, our two teams of dogs have been trained to ‘indicate’ bat/bird corpses and have an excellent track record in finding all carcasses – regardless of size (we have found bat forearms 35mm long) or state of decomposition. As we can improve accuracy in this way, we can give additional weighting to the mitigation proposals we build into your project at planning submission stage.
Important cost-savings – The use of dogs helps to speed up the fatality monitoring process and save on costs in the long term. Since dogs can do the job in less time, the amount of time a surveyor will need to be present is greatly reduced. All of these savings help add value to the overall cost of the strategy we provide.
Expertly trained – Trained by an internationally-acclaimed dog trainer, our main searcher dog, Snipe, is the first we know of in Ireland to be used for fatality monitoring at wind farms. She is a bat ‘specialist’ but has also found many bird carcasses. Three dogs are used by INIS Ecology and are available for all fatality monitoring on any wind farm site in Ireland.