Wind turbines act as apex predators in local ecosystems

Wind turbines act like 'super predators' changing ecosystems by removing birds of prey

Wind turbines act like 'super predators' changing ecosystems by removing birds of prey

These protected areas do not have wind turbines, and were chosen for comparison. The researchers found that the number of predatory birds, but also the number of predatory attempts (dive attacks), was four times lower in areas with wind farms than in areas without them.

Most from the negative effects of suffer from birds of prey. Researchers found nearly four times more predatory birds in areas without wind turbines than around wind farms.

Researchers of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, found that wind turbines can act as top predators in ecosystems by driving down numbers as well as activity of birds of prey and triggering knock-on effects across food chains - it results in an increase in the density of vertebrates like lizards on the ground.

In particular, the team observed an explosion in the raptors' favorite meal - fan-throated lizards - in areas dominated by the turbines.

'We find wind farms reduce the abundance and activity of predatory birds - for example buzzards, hawks and kites - which consequently increases the density of lizards. The usually brilliant blue and orange colours that male lizards sport were less vibrant in individuals at wind farms: not a good sign, because colour intensities aid lizards in social communication, said study according to The Hindu report. Thy captured lizards and took blood samples, and quantified the level of stress hormone, corticosterone.

"We found that densities of the most common lizard species were three times higher in sites with wind turbines compared with those without.

This release causes a range of changes in lizards", explained Dr Maria Thaker of Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore who led the research, while speaking to India Science Wire.

Furthermore, they saw significant changes in lizard behavior and appearance, living as though they were in an essentially predator-free environment. You can further help us by making a donation.