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WEST Survey Reports

Appendix F-1

February 2011
Project No. 0092352

Environmental Resources Management Southwest, Inc.


206 East 9th Street, Suite 1700
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 459-4700
AVIAN AND BAT STUDIES FOR THE PROPOSED
CAPE VINCENT WIND PROJECT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, NEW YORK
Final Report

April 2006 – May 2007

Prepared for:

BP Alternative Energy North America


700 Louisiana Street, 33rd Floor
Houston, Texas

Prepared by:

David P. Young, Jr., Jessica J. Kerns, Christopher S. Nations, and Victoria K. Poulton
Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc.
2003 Central Avenue
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82001

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Cape Vincent Wind Power Project
Avian and Bat Studies Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BP Alternative Energy North America, Inc. (BPAE) is evaluating the feasibility of wind energy
development in Jefferson County, New York. The proposed project, Cape Vincent Wind Power
Project, is located south of the St. Lawrence River and north of Chaumont Bay, near the town of
Cape Vincent, New York. The exact location and size of the development will be based on a
number of factors including power purchase agreement(s), electricity markets, transmission
constraints, permitting, and results of site surveys.

Early project evaluation identified issues concerning potential impacts from the project on avian
and bat resources, in particular nocturnal migrant birds and migrant raptors, migrant bats, and
species of concern that may occupy the site. BPAE developed and implemented a one year avian
and bat survey protocol to address the agency concerns and provide site-specific data for the
resources of concern. The study plan was reviewed and approved by the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The primary
objectives of the study were to: provide information on avian and bat resources and use of the
study area that would be useful in evaluating potential impacts from the wind power
development, provide information on avian and bat resources and use of the study area that
would help in designing a wind project that is less likely to expose species to risk of collisions
with turbines, and provide recommendations for further studies and potential mitigation
measures, if appropriate.

The one-year avian and bat preconstruction study consisted of nocturnal marine radar sampling
during the spring and fall migration periods; diurnal point count surveys from fixed point
locations conducive to observing raptors and other large birds; breeding bird survey point counts;
AnaBat sampling for migrating bats during the spring and fall; AnaBat sampling for resident bats
during the summer; and winter and early spring waterfowl and raptor surveys. The various study
components took into consideration the potential for federal and state-listed species occurrence
in the project area.

Nocturnal radar surveys were conducted most nights during the 63-day period between August
15 and October 15, 2006 and the 50-day period between April 19 and June 8, 2007. A total of
508 and 300 hours of radar sampling were conducted in the fall and spring respectively. Fall
mean and dispersion of flight direction were μ = 209.2° and r = 0.34 and spring mean and
dispersion of flight direction were μ = 34.0° and r = 0.52. The overall mean fall passage rate in
the horizontal mode was 345.8 ± 13.3 targets/km/hr (mean ± SE) and the overall mean spring
passage rate in the horizontal mode was 166.2 ± 8.8 targets/km/hr (mean ± SE). For sampling at
the 1.5-km range in vertical mode, mean flight altitude was 490.4 ± 1.7 m (mean ± SE) above
radar level in the fall and 441.3 ± 2.5 m arl in the spring. Approximately 7.7% of targets had
flight altitudes less than 125 m in the fall and approximately 14.0% of targets had flight altitudes
less than 125 m in the spring. Clutter from non-avian or bat targets was considered minimal;
during the fall and spring only 1% of targets were moving very slow (< 6 m/s) and not likely bird
or bat targets.

Diurnal point count surveys were conducted during the raptor migration periods in the spring and
fall 2006 and again in the spring 2007. During spring 2006, a total of 12 point count surveys

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were conducted resulting in 777 individual birds recorded including 79 raptors of 10 species.
During the fall season, a total of 30 surveys were conducted resulting in a total of 3,050
individual birds recorded including 165 individual raptors of 10 species. During the spring 2007
season, a total of 21 surveys were conducted and 1,851 individual birds were recorded including
205 individual raptors of 9 species. Canada goose was the most commonly seen bird during
spring and fall surveys. During both spring seasons, turkey vulture was the mostly commonly
recorded raptor species (n = 29, 66.7% of surveys; n = 111, 94.4% of surveys, respectively)
followed by American kestrel (n = 13, 41.7% of surveys) in 2006 and northern harrier (n = 37,
88.9% of surveys) in 2007. In the fall, northern harrier was the most commonly recorded raptor
species (n = 69, 76.7% of surveys), followed by turkey vulture (n = 50, 33.3% of surveys).
Other raptor species seen included: broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk,
sharp-shinned hawk, osprey, peregrine falcon, and Cooper’s hawk. There were no spatial
differences in raptor use across the survey points.

Point count surveys were conducted for breeding birds on June 29 and July 6, 2006. Each point
was surveyed twice, for a total of 40 survey periods. A total of 812 individual birds were
observed in 462 groups of 63 species. Red-winged blackbird, bobolink, and song sparrow were
the most common passerines observed based on mean use estimates (number observed within
400 m per 3-minute survey). Several species of interest were recorded during the breeding bird
surveys including New York state species of concern northern harrier, Henslow’s sparrow,
horned lark, grasshopper sparrow, and vesper sparrow, and two species on the USFWS 2002
Birds of Conservation Concern list for the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain region,
bobolink and wood thrush.

Spring AnaBat sampling occurred between April 13 and June 2, 2006 at the project met tower
and resulted in a total of 241 bat calls recorded (4.92 calls/night) during the 49 days of sampling.
Summer sampling occurred on 15 nights between June 28 and August 8 at the met tower and
recorded a total of 431 calls (28.7 calls/night). During fall, August 13 to October 9, sampling
occurred at three different heights at the met tower. The AnaBat unit positioned at ground level
recorded the highest number of bat vocalizations per night (9.90 calls/night) over the 58 day
sampling period. At least four different species of bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, big brown bats,
and Myotis sp. were recorded during the sampling. 208 calls that were of sufficient length to
attempt species identification were submitted for quantitative analysis. Of these eastern red bat,
little brown bat, northern myotis, and Indiana bat were identified.

Winter driving surveys in the project area were conducted on nine days between November 5,
2006 and March 1, 2007. Approximately 27 hours of survey time were spent during the driving
surveys and a total of 13.5 hours of surveys were conducted at the three fixed-point count
stations. A total of 395 individuals in 96 groups of waterbirds, waterfowl, raptors and other birds
were recorded during the winter driving surveys and 255 individuals in 87 groups were recorded
during the winter fixed point counts. Two species of waterfowl, two species of waterbird, and six
raptor species were observed either during the surveys. Canada goose was the most common
waterfowl species observed during the winter surveys based on use estimates. Rough legged
hawk and red-tailed hawk were the most common raptor species.

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The results of the nocturnal radar survey were very similar to other radar studies conducted in
New York and the northeast U.S. Based on the characteristics of migration, there does not
appear to be greater risk to nocturnal migrants than other wind sites studied. The diurnal raptor
migration surveys do not indicate that a significant flight of migrant raptors pass through the
study area when compared to established hawk watch sites in New York for either spring or fall.
Based on the topography and landform of the Jefferson County area, there is little to concentrate
raptor movement though the study area. The study results appear to indicate that migrant raptors
are more dispersed when they pass through the proposed project area region. Results of the
breeding bird were typical of mixed agricultural settings with a variety of common species
recorded indicating a diversity of habitat. Several species of interest were recorded during the
surveys, however, potential risk to any of these species is not considered high. Potential impacts
are expected to be spread over several commonly observed species. Some waterfowl,
waterbirds, and raptors winter in the Cape Vincent project area. The project would result in
increased exposure to wintering birds, however, most of the species observed were common
species with large populations and potential impacts would not be considered significant.

Based on the AnaBat surveys, bat abundance was greatest during the summer season. It is,
however, likely that fall migrant species may be at risk from the project based on results from
other monitoring studies and a relatively high level of bat calls recorded during the fall season.
Species identification from the AnaBat data and existing information from the NYSDEC
suggests that Indiana bat, a federal endangered species, may be present on the site. Further
studies recommended for the project include additional bat surveys including mist-netting
surveys to determine presence-absence and spatial distribution of Indiana bats in the project area.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction and Background ......................................................................................................... 1


Study Area ...................................................................................................................................... 3
Study Components .......................................................................................................................... 3
Nocturnal Marine Radar Survey ................................................................................................. 5
Methods................................................................................................................................... 7
Results..................................................................................................................................... 8
Raptor Migration Surveys......................................................................................................... 22
Methods................................................................................................................................. 22
Results................................................................................................................................... 23
Breeding Bird Survey ............................................................................................................... 31
Methods................................................................................................................................. 31
Results................................................................................................................................... 33
Nocturnal AnaBat Surveys ....................................................................................................... 35
Methods................................................................................................................................. 35
Results................................................................................................................................... 37
Waterfowl and Winter Raptor Surveys..................................................................................... 39
Methods................................................................................................................................. 39
Results................................................................................................................................... 40
Discussion ..................................................................................................................................... 43
Nocturnal Marine Radar Survey ............................................................................................... 43
Raptor Migration Surveys......................................................................................................... 45
Breeding Bird Survey ............................................................................................................... 47
Nocturnal AnaBat Surveys ....................................................................................................... 48
Waterfowl and Winter Raptor Surveys..................................................................................... 50
References..................................................................................................................................... 50

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Raptors and other large bird species observed during spring and fall diurnal
raptor migration surveys at the Cape Vincent wind power project area............................25
Table 2. Flight height characteristics and exposure indices by species observed during
diurnal raptor migration surveys at the Cape Vincent wind power project area. ..............27
Table 3. Avian species observed during breeding bird surveys within the Cape Vincent
wind power project area.....................................................................................................33
Table 4. Number of sampling days, total number of calls recorded, and calls/night
recorded by each AnaBat unit at the met tower for spring, summer, and fall
sampling periods. ...............................................................................................................38
Table 5. Relative call frequency of species recorded at the met tower during the sampling
periods of each season. ......................................................................................................38
Table 6. Number of detections by species during summer roaming AnaBat sampling................39
Table 7. Waterfowl and raptors observed while conducting winter 2007 driving surveys
at the Cape Vincent wind power project area. ...................................................................42
Table 8. Waterfowl and raptors observed while conducting winter 2007 fixed point..................42

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Table 9. Results of radar studies at proposed and existing wind project sites in the U.S..............44
Table 10. Number of raptors observed per surveyor hour in the project area and at six
established New York spring/fall hawk watch sites. .........................................................46
Table 11. Wind projects in the U.S. with both AnaBat sampling data and mortality data
for bat species. ...................................................................................................................48

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Proposed Cape Vincent wind power project location. ....................................................2
Figure 2. Land use/land cover of the Cape Vincent project area....................................................4
Figure 3. Radar sampling locations and raptor survey locations for the Cape Vincent
project area...........................................................................................................................6
Figure 4. Observed flight directions at Cape Vincent project area.................................................9
Figure 5. Mean + 1 SE nightly passage rates in horizontal mode. ...............................................11
Figure 6. Mean + SE nightly passage rates recorded in vertical mode.........................................12
Figure 7. Mean + SE hourly passage rates recorded in horizontal mode. ....................................13
Figure 8. Mean + 1 SE hourly passage rates recorded in vertical mode.......................................14
Figure 9. Frequency histogram of targets by height class, sampling at 1.5-km. Height
class 1 represents altitudes 0-100om, class 2 represents altitudes 100-200om, etc.
No targets were observed in classes 10-12, 14, or 15........................................................16
Figure 10. Mean + 1 SE nightly flight altitude sampling at 1.5-km range. ..................................17
Figure 11. Mean + 1 SE hourly flight altitude sampling at 1.5-km range. ...................................18
Figure 12. Recorded target altitude distributions..........................................................................19
Figure 13. Mean + 1 SE nightly target air speed. .........................................................................21
Figure 14. Diurnal avian mean use estimates for each survey point by season at the Cape
Vincent wind power project area. ......................................................................................29
Figure 15. Breeding bird survey point count locations for the Cape Vincent wind power
project area.........................................................................................................................32
Figure 16. AnaBat survey locations for the Cape Vincent wind power project area....................36
Figure 17. Waterfowl and winter raptor driving transects with species location recorded
for the project area. ............................................................................................................41

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INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

BP Alternative Energy North America, Inc. (BPAE) is evaluating the feasibility of wind energy
development in Jefferson County, New York. The proposed project, Cape Vincent Wind Power
Project, is located south of the St. Lawrence River and north of Chaumont Bay, near the town of
Cape Vincent, New York (Figure 1). The city of Watertown is located approximately 12 miles
southeast of the project. The exact location and size of the development will be based on a
number of factors including power purchase agreement(s), electricity markets, transmission
constraints, permitting, and results of site surveys.

Through the early project evaluation process, BPAE contacted the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to
determine biological resources of concern for the project. Issues that were raised included
potential impacts from the project on avian and bat resources, in particular nocturnal migrant
birds and migrant raptors, migrant bats, and species of concern that may occupy the site. In
response to comments from the agencies, BPAE requested that Western EcoSystems
Technology, Inc. (WEST) develop an avian and bat survey protocol for a one-year study that
would address the agency concerns and provide site-specific data for the resources of concern.

The principal goals of the study, initiated in April 2006, were to:
1) Provide baseline information on avian and bat resources and use of the study area that
would be useful in evaluating potential impacts from the wind power development;
2) Provide baseline information on avian and bat migration over the proposed development
area that is useful in evaluating the relative risk of the proposed wind project;
3) Provide information on avian, bat, and sensitive species use of the study area that will
help in designing a wind project that is less likely to expose species to risk of collisions
with turbines, and;
4) Provide recommendations for further monitoring studies and potential mitigation
measures, if appropriate.

Specific objectives of the study were to: (1) describe and quantify nocturnal migration over the
proposed project area; (2) describe and quantify spring and fall (diurnal) raptor migration
through the proposed project; (3) describe and quantify breeding bird use in the proposed
development area (turbine locations); (4) describe and quantify migrant bat use over the
proposed project; (5) identify resident bat species in the project area; (6) describe and quantify
waterfowl migration through the project area; (7) and identify the presence of any federal and
state-listed species that may occur within in the project area, as well as potential habitat for these
species. The protocol was developed based on input from NYSDEC and the USFWS, as well as
the expertise and experience of WEST implementing and conducting similar studies for wind
energy development throughout the U.S.

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Figure 1. Proposed Cape Vincent wind power project location.

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STUDY AREA

The proposed project area is located within the Great Lakes Plain ecozone in northern New York
(Andrle and Carroll 1988). Elevation of the ecozone varies from about 100-500 feet. The
dominant vegetation type was historically northern hardwood forest: oaks, beech, sugar maple,
white ash, and black cherry; but agricultural clearing has left the region approximately 20%
wooded (Andrle and Carroll 1988). Some of the overall project area is characterized by Alvar
ecosystems: grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and sparsely vegetated rock barrens that develop
on flat limestone where soils are very shallow (Edinger et al. 2002).

The land within the project area is privately owned and the primary land use is agriculture and
dairy farming (Figure 2). Most of the project development area is in agricultural fields. There
are scattered farms and houses throughout the project and adjacent to the roads. Vegetation of
the project is a mosaic of open grass/hay fields, cultivated agriculture, and scattered deciduous
tree wood lots. The deciduous forest type tends to be variable in size with some small woodlots
intermixed with agriculture fields and some larger blocks of forest, particularly in low-lying
areas and along stream corridors. Several inlets, creeks, and wetland forests occur within the
project area.

STUDY COMPONENTS

The one-year avian and bat preconstruction study consisted of nocturnal marine radar sampling
during the spring and fall migration periods; diurnal point count surveys from fixed point
locations conducive to observing raptors and other large birds; breeding bird survey point counts;
AnaBat sampling for migrating bats during the spring and fall; AnaBat sampling for resident bats
during the summer; and winter and early spring waterfowl and raptor surveys. The various study
components took into consideration the potential for federal and state-listed species occurrence
in the project area.

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Figure 2. Land use/land cover of the Cape Vincent project area.

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Nocturnal Marine Radar Survey

The overall purpose of the nocturnal marine radar survey is to characterize avian migration over
the project area and provide data that can be used to determine the relative magnitude of
nocturnal migration over the proposed development area when compared to other sites. The
primary objective of the radar study is to collect baseline information on flight direction, passage
rates, and flight altitude of nocturnal migrants at a representative sampling location for the
proposed development area.

A single radar unit was used for the migration seasons defined as 15 August – 15 October for the
fall and 15 April 15 – 1 June for the spring. The radar lab consists of an X-band marine radar,
transmitting at 9,410 MHz with power output of 12 kW, mounted on a vehicle. Similar radar
labs have been successfully used to monitor nocturnal avian migration and are described in
Cooper et al. (1991) and Harmata et al. (1999).

The fall sampling location was selected based on constraints of the radar (e.g., minimization of
ground interference), property ownership, access, and comments from the NYSDEC and
USFWS (Figure 3). Based on comments from the NYSDEC and USFWS, the ideal radar
sampling point to allow characterization of avian/bat movement along the shoreline, as well as
over inland areas, was restricted to those areas approximately 1.5 km from the shoreline. To
decrease ground clutter, the unit was positioned in a small hollow so that surrounding
topography reflected the lower portion of the main beam, producing a clear picture of sky
beyond. Due to land management changes at the fall radar sampling location, the site was
inaccessible in the spring. A second sampling location was chosen with similar characteristics as
the fall site and also situated approximately 1.5 km from the shoreline (Figure 3).

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Figure 3. Radar sampling locations and raptor survey locations for the Cape Vincent project area.

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Methods

The study period for radar sampling was 63 days during the fall season and 50 days during the
spring. Due to the constraints of marine radar, sampling during some nights was compromised
or cancelled due to rain, so the total number of sampled nights was less than the total study
period. Nocturnal radar sampling occurred from approximately sunset each night until sunrise
the following morning. Each night was broken down into 60-min sampling periods that
consisted of:

1) one 5-min session to collect weather data and adjust the radar to surveillance (i.e.,
horizontal) mode,
2) one 10-min short-range session (1.5 km range) with the radar in surveillance mode
collecting information on migration traffic (passage) rates;
3) one 10-min short-range session (1.5 km range) with the radar in surveillance mode
collecting information on flight direction and speed of targets, as well as general
location of migrants;
4) one 5-min break to adjust radar to vertical mode;
5) one 10-min short-range session (1.5 km range) in the vertical mode to collect
information on migration traffic (passage) rate;
6) one 10-min short-range session (1.5 km range) in the vertical mode to collect
information on flight altitudes below 1500 m;
7) one 5-min short-range session (1.5 km range) in the vertical mode to collect
information on the spatial distribution and altitudes of birds along an east-west
transect axis; and,
8) one 5-min long-range session (3.0 km range) in the vertical mode to collect
information on flight altitudes below 3000 m.

The following weather data was collected at the beginning of each hour session: wind speed,
wind direction; cloud cover (%); approximate ceiling height (m); approximate visibility (m);
precipitation; barometric pressure; air temperature (oC). Noticeable changes in weather
conditions, if any, were recorded when the radar unit was adjusted to vertical mode.

The Furuno FAR2117BB radar used in this study has several controls which affect detection and
tracking of targets. In order to detect and track small targets, the radar operated under the
shortest pulse length setting with the gain control turned up to near the highest setting. Initially,
the anti-clutter controls on the radar were turned down to the lowest settings. The anti-sea clutter
control was then slowly turned up to about the point where background noise cleared from the
screen enough to see small targets. The anti-rain clutter control was kept at the lowest setting.
While in the vertical mode, to eliminate ground clutter around the radar generated from second
echoes of radar energy bouncing off the van and ground, a blind sector was set so that the radar
did not transmit energy when the antennae was pointing towards the ground (from 90o to 270o).
The radar trails function was generally set at 30 seconds so that targets could be tracked for long
enough to determine direction and speed. Target flight direction was determined by placing the
cursor on a target echo within a trail and aligning the offset electronic bearing line (EBL) along
the line of target echoes pointing in the direction of travel. Speed was recorded as the distance a

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target traveled in 5 seconds (two sweeps of the radar antennae). With the target trails turned on,
each sweep of the radar plots a new echo for any given target with each echo persisting on the
screen for a set amount of time (e.g., 30 seconds). Speed was determined with the offset variable
range marker (VRM) by placing the cursor on a target echo and measuring the distance between
that echo and the third echo in line (i.e., the distance traveled in 2 sweeps of the antennae or 5
seconds). Target height was measured with an index line (a tangent on the VRM) on the monitor
relative to a horizontal line running through the radar point of origin.

All data were exported from Microsoft Access and imported into SAS V.8 for further data
processing, quality assurance, and analysis. Additional analyses were performed using Matlab
V6.5. To determine passage rates in horizontal mode, the 2-dimensional area represented by the
radar image was treated as a 1-dimensional “front” perpendicular to the direction of migration,
with length equal to 3 km (the diameter of the surveyed area); all targets counted in the radar
image during the sampling period were treated as if they had crossed the front. Based on that
assumption, passage rate was calculated as number of targets per kilometer per hour.

μ = tan −1 ( y x ) y = ∑ i =1 cos (θi ) n ,


n
Mean flight direction was estimated as where
x = ∑ i =1 sin (θi ) n , and θi was the flight direction for the ith observation (Batschelet, 1981).
n

( )
12
Dispersion in the data was calculated as r = x 2 + y 2 such that 0 ≤ r ≤1. If all observations
had exactly the same direction, r = 1; conversely, r = 0 would indicate uniform distribution of
directions around the circle.

Mean flight altitude was not adjusted for unequal sampling intensity at different heights or
unequal detection probability as a function of distance from the radar unit.

Air speed of targets, Va, was calculated as Va = ⎡⎣Vg2 + Vw2 − 2VgVw cos ( Δθ ) ⎤⎦ , where Vg = target
ground speed, Vw = wind speed, and Δθ was the difference between the target flight direction
and wind direction. Hourly weather observations made at ground level were used for estimates
of wind speed and direction. Wind direction categorized by field observers as ‘N’, ‘NE’, ‘E’,
‘SE’, etc.; were transformed to bearings (0°, 45°, 90°, 135°, etc.) for the calculation of Δθ .
Targets with air speeds less than 6 m/s or greater than 35 m/s were judged not to be migrating
birds and were excluded from further analysis.

Results

Nocturnal radar surveys were conducted most nights during the 63-day period between August
15 and October 15, 2006 and the 50-day period between April 19 and June 8, 2007. During fall,
radar sampling was conducted most nights for a total of approximately 508 hours of radar
sampling during the study period. Very wet weather in mid-April and again in late-May
compromised many survey nights during the spring study period. Radar sampling was
conducted for a total of approximately 300 hours during the spring study period.

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Flight Direction
Observed flight directions were towards the southwest in the fall and towards the northeast in the
spring (Figure 4). Fall mean and dispersion of flight direction were μ = 209.2° and r = 0.34
(n = 12378 targets). As an indication of the southerly direction of the migration, 71.8% of
observations were between 90° and 270°, while 34.5% of observations were between 135° and
225°. Spring mean and dispersion of flight direction were μ = 34.0° and r = 0.52 (n = 5003
targets). As an indication of the northerly direction of the migration, 77.6% of observations were
between 270° and 90°, and 48.4% of observations were between 315° and 45°.

0
800
330 30
600

300 400 60

200

270 90

240 120

210 150
180

Figure 4. Observed flight directions at Cape Vincent project area.

Passage Rates
Fall -The overall mean passage rate in the horizontal mode was 345.8 ± 13.3 targets/km/hr
(mean ± SE) (n = 506 sample periods) and in the vertical mode was 346.2 ± 17.2 targets/km/hr
(mean ± SE) (n = 503 sample periods). Mean nightly passage rate was highly variable in both
horizontal mode (Figure 5) and vertical mode (Figure 6). The greatest nightly passage rates
occurred in late September and early October. Mean hourly passage rates tended to be low early
in the evening, with rapid increases to maximum values just before midnight, followed by
progressively declining rates throughout the night (Figures 7 and 8).

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Spring -The overall mean passage rate in the horizontal mode was 166.2 ± 8.8 targets/km/hr
(mean ± SE) (n = 310 sample periods) and in the vertical mode was 191 ± 9.4 targets/km/hr
(mean ± SE) (n = 308 sample periods). Mean nightly passage rate was highly variable in both
horizontal mode (Figure 5) and vertical mode (Figure 6). The greatest nightly passage rates
occurred in early and mid May. Mean hourly passage rates tended to be low early in the
evening, with rapid increases to maximum values just before midnight, followed by
progressively declining rates throughout the night with a second small increase early in the
morning (Figures 7 and 8).

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1500
NIGHTLY PASSAGE RATE (targets/km/hr)
Fall

1000

500

0
08/14 08/24 09/03 09/13 09/23 10/03 10/13
DATE

Spring

Figure 5. Mean + 1 SE nightly passage rates in horizontal mode.

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2000
NIGHTLY PASSAGE RATE (targets/km/hr)
1800
Fall
1600

1400

1200

1000

800

600

400

200

0
08/14 08/24 09/03 09/13 09/23 10/03 10/13
DATE

Spring

Figure 6. Mean + SE nightly passage rates recorded in vertical mode.

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600
HOURLY PASSAGE RATE (targets/km/hr)
Fall
500

400

300

200

100

0
1800 2000 2200 0000 0200 0400 0600
TIME

Spring

Figure 7. Mean + SE hourly passage rates recorded in horizontal mode.

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600

HOURLY PASSAGE RATE (targets/km/hr) Fall


500

400

300

200

100

0
1800 2000 2200 0000 0200 0400 0600
TIME

Spring

Figure 8. Mean + 1 SE hourly passage rates recorded in vertical mode.

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Flight Altitudes
Fall - For sampling at the 1.5-km range in vertical mode, mean flight altitude was 490.4 ± 1.7 m
(mean ± SE) (n = 30,749 targets) above radar level (arl)1. Approximately 7.7% of targets had
flight altitudes less than 125 m (the approximate zone of risk posed by modern turbines) at the
site. Most targets were observed at altitudes below 500 m (Figure 9). The highest percentage of
targets occurred between 201 and 300 m arl. Nightly mean flight altitudes were variable
throughout the study period and ranged from approximately 275 m to 685 m arl (Figure 10). In
contrast, hourly mean flight altitudes were relatively constant (typically in the 450−500 m range)
(Figure 11) and close to the overall mean flight altitude for the study period. For sampling
periods at the 3-km range in vertical mode, 3.1% of targets (558 of 18,059) had flight altitudes
greater than 1500 m. On all sampling nights the mean flight height was greater than the median
value and the middle 50% of all observations were greater than 125 m arl (Figure 12).

Spring - For sampling at the 1.5-km range in vertical mode, mean flight altitude was 441.3 ± 2.5
m (mean ± SE) (n = 16,151 targets) arl. Approximately14.0% of targets had flight altitudes less
than 125 m. The highest percentage of targets (19.2%) occurred between 101 and 200 m arl
(Figure 9). Nightly mean flight altitudes were variable throughout the study period and ranged
from approximately 170 m to 650 m arl (Figure 10). In contrast, hourly mean flight altitudes
were relatively constant (typically in the 440–470 m range) (Figure 11) and close to the overall
mean flight altitude for the study period. For sampling periods at the 3-km range in vertical
mode, 2.6% of targets (253 of 9061 targets) had flight altitudes greater than 1500 m. On all
sampling nights the mean flight height was greater than the median value and above 125 m arl;
however, on two nights the median value was below 125 m arl and on seven nights the middle
50% of all observations overlapped the zone of risk (Figure 12).

1
Target altitude was measured in relation to a horizontal line running through the point of origin for the radar and
thus termed above radar level. Height above ground level (agl) is highly variable depending on the topography
directly below any given target and not measurable with the radar.

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15

Fall
PERCENT OF TARGETS

10

0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
HEIGHT CLASS

20

18 Spring

16

14
PERCENT OF TARGETS

12

10

0
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
HEIGHT CLASS

Figure 9. Frequency histogram of targets by height class, sampling at 1.5-km. Height class 1
represents altitudes 0-100om, class 2 represents altitudes 100-200om, etc.

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400
Fall
350

300
FLIGHT ALTITUDE (m)

250

200

150

100

50

0
08/14 08/24 09/03 09/13 09/23 10/03 10/13
DATE

700
Spring
600
FLIGHT ALTITUDE (m)

500

400

300

200

100

0
04/26 05/01 05/06 05/11 05/16 05/21 05/26 05/31 06/05 06/10
DATE

Figure 10. Mean + 1 SE nightly flight altitude sampling at 1.5-km range.

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300

Fall
250
FLIGHT ALTITUDE (m)

200

150

100

50

0
1800 2000 2200 0000 0200 0400 0600
TIME

500
Spring
450

400
FLIGHT ALTITUDE (m)

350

300

250

200

150

100

50

0
0000 0200 0400 2000 2200
TIME
Figure 11. Mean + 1 SE hourly flight altitude sampling at 1.5-km range.

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Avian and Bat Studies Report

Fall

Spring

Figure 12. Recorded target altitude distributions2.

2
The boxes within the chart represent the 1st and 3rd quartile (50%) of the nightly observations, the horizontal lines
within boxes represent nightly median value of flight heights, and solid circles represent the nightly mean flight
height.

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Target Speed
Fall - Air speed of targets was calculated by adjusting for wind speed and direction (see Methods
above). Of 12,190 targets, approximately 1% (120 targets) were moving very slow (< 6 m/s) and
one target was moving at high speed (> 35m/s). After excluding very slow and very fast targets,
overall mean target air speed was 12.95 ± 0.03 m/s (mean ± SE) (n = 12069 targets). Nightly
mean target air speed varied from approximately 10 to 17 m/s (Figure 13). Because the
percentage of targets moving slowly was so small, no further adjustment to the data set was
warranted.

Spring - Of 5,003 targets, approximately 1% (56 targets) was excluded because they were
moving very slow (< 6 m/s) or due to high speed (> 35m/s) and 47 targets were excluded due to
missing wind speed and/or direction to allow for air speed adjustments. After excluding very
slow and very fast targets, overall mean target air speed was 13.65 ± 0.06 m/s (mean ± SE)
(n = 4900 targets). Nightly mean target air speed varied from approximately 11 to 18 m/s
(Figure 13). Because the percentage of targets moving slowly was so small, no further
adjustment to the data set was warranted.

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18

16
Fall
14
AIR SPEED (m/s)

12

10

0
08/14 08/24 09/03 09/13 09/23 10/03 10/13
DATE

Spring

Figure 13. Mean + 1 SE nightly target air speed.

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Avian and Bat Studies Report

Raptor Migration Surveys

The objective of the raptor migration surveys was to estimate the spatial and temporal use of the
sites by migrant raptors, other diurnal migrants (e.g., waterfowl, corvids), and other large birds.
Point counts using variable circular plots (Reynolds et al. 1980, Bibby et al. 1992) were
conducted within the project area according to methods used by the Hawk Migration Association
of North America (HMANA) with observers continuously scanning the sky and surrounding
areas for raptors in the survey area. The emphasis of the surveys was locating and counting
raptors migrating through the area. The timing of surveys was determined in consultation with
the NYSDEC and based on available information from migrant raptor watch stations in northern
and western New York (e.g., Derby Hill, see below).

Methods

Three fixed survey points were established within the proposed project area to provide good
visibility while providing widespread east-west coverage of the project area, and also attempting
to minimize the potential for double-counting individual birds (Figure 3). Survey stations were
established to maximize visibility over long distances in an effort to locate and identify migrating
raptors and other large birds. To the extent possible while maintaining the integrity of the east-
west layout, the points were selected to provide good coverage of the vegetation and topographic
features of the area, good visibility in 360o around the point, and so that each point was
surveying unique area. Each survey plot was a variable circular plot centered on the observation
point. All birds observed were recorded, although the survey effort was concentrated within an
approximate 800-m radius circle centered on the observation point. Observations of birds
beyond the 800-m radius were recorded, but not included in the analysis of data within the plot.

Each fixed point was surveyed once each survey day during daylight hours (0900 – 1700) to
cover the peak period for observing migrant raptors. Survey periods at each point were 60
minutes long. All raptors and other large birds/flocks observed during the survey were assigned
a unique observation number and plotted on a map of the survey plot. Data recorded for each
survey included date; start and end time of the observation period; and weather information such
as temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, and cloud cover. Species or
best possible identification, number of individuals, sex and age class (if possible), distance from
plot center when first observed, closest distance, altitude above ground, activity (behavior), and
habitat(s) were recorded for each raptor observed. Approximate flight direction or movement
paths were mapped for all raptors and large birds seen. The behavior of each raptor/large bird
and habitat in which or over which the bird was first observed were recorded. Behavior
categories included perched, circling/soaring, flapping, hunting, gliding, and other (noted in
comments). Habitats included agriculture, old (fallow) field, deciduous woods/forest, developed
(e.g., farms), and other (noted in comments). Approximate flight height at first observation and
the approximate lowest and highest flight heights were recorded to the nearest meter or 5-meter
interval. Any comments or unusual observations were noted in the comments section.

Sampling intensity was designed to document raptor migration through the project area. In New
York, spring hawk watch locations are concentrated along the Great Lakes shorelines and are

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Avian and Bat Studies Report

more inland in eastern portions of the state during fall migration. According to spring count data
from the Derby Hill Bird Observatory (Mexico, New York) approximately 50 miles south of
Cape Vincent along Lake Ontario, peak numbers of sharp-shinned hawks migrate through the
area during April, with large pulses of broad-winged hawks during the last two weeks of April.
Fall migration counts from Franklin Mountain in Oneonta, New York (150 miles southeast of
Cape Vincent) report peak periods for migrant broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks during
September and October, respectively. Concern for migrant golden eagles potentially using the
Cape Vincent project area was expressed during talks with the NYSDEC. Golden eagles are
earlier and later migrants with peaks reported from the end of March through April during spring
migration and the end of October through November during fall migration. Spring raptor
surveys at the Cape Vincent project area began later in the 2006 season (April 14, 2006) and
likely did not capture early raptor migrants, such as golden eagles; however, spring surveys were
conducted again in 2007 and began at an earlier date, March 21, and ran until May 1. In fall,
surveys were conducted from September 23 – November 11.

Results

During the spring 2006 season, each point was surveyed 4 times, for a total of 12 surveys. A
total of 777 individual birds were recorded; 79 raptors of 10 species were observed (Table 1).
During the fall season, each fixed point was surveyed 10 times during the survey window, for a
total of 30 surveys. A total of 3,050 individual birds were recorded during the surveys; 165
individual raptors of 10 species were observed. During the spring 2007 season, each point was
surveyed 7 times, for a total of 21 surveys. A total of 1,851 individual birds were recorded
during the surveys; 205 individual raptors of 9 species were observed. (Table 1)

Canada goose was the most commonly seen bird during spring and fall surveys. During both
spring migration surveys (2006 and 2007), turkey vulture was the mostly commonly recorded
raptor species (n = 29, freq = 66.7% and n = 111, freq = 94.4%, respectively). American kestrel
(n = 13, freq = 41.7%) followed turkey vulture in numbers during the spring 2006 surveys,
whereas northern harrier (n = 37, freq = 88.9%) followed turkey vulture in the 2007 spring
surveys. In the fall, northern harrier was the most commonly recorded raptor species (n = 69,
freq = 76.7%), followed by turkey vulture (n = 50, freq = 33.3%). Other raptor species seen
included: broad-winged hawk, red-tailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, osprey,
peregrine falcon, and Cooper’s hawk.

Exposure indices were calculated as the mean use estimates (number of birds/60-minute survey)
multiplied by the proportion of birds observed flying and the proportion of birds flying within
the zone of risk (defined as the approximate rotor-swept area). During the migratory seasons,
gull species had the highest exposure index due to high numbers of individuals occurring in the
project area (Table 2). For raptors, turkey vulture had the highest exposure index also due
primarily to the higher use estimates.

Avian and raptor use varied among survey stations (Figure 14). Avian use was highest at Station
1 during the fall 2006 season; however Station 2 was the highest during both spring seasons.
Large flocks of Canada geese and other duck species recorded at this survey point contributed to

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Avian and Bat Studies Report

this high use estimate. Station 2 is located on the western edge of the project area and closest to
Lake Ontario. High numbers of Canada geese and gull species accounted for higher avian use at
this survey station. Raptor use was generally similar between seasons and survey points. Station
2 had higher use in the spring seasons but the differences were not significant.

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Table 1. Raptors and other large bird species observed during spring and fall diurnal raptor migration surveys at the Cape Vincent wind
power project area.
Spring 2006 Fall 2006 Spring 2007
Species/Group mean mean mean
# ind # groups % freq4 # ind # groups % freq # ind # groups % freq
use3 use use
Waterbirds 221 22 34 18 58 43
Bonaparte's gull 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 3 1 0.17 5.56
Caspian tern 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 2 1 0.11 5.56
Common loon 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.03 3.33 0 0 0.00 0.00
Common tern 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.06 5.56
Double-crested cormorant 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.06 5.56
Great blue heron 8 7 0.67 50.00 3 3 0.10 10.00 26 23 1.39 55.56
Herring gull 6 2 0.50 16.67 6 2 0.20 6.67 0 0 0.00 0.00
Ring-billed gull 57 6 4.75 33.33 8 7 0.27 20.00 21 15 1.17 44.44
Unidentified gull 150 7 12.50 41.67 16 5 0.50 13.33 4 1 0.22 5.56
Waterfowl 457 25 2677 92 1365 48
Canada goose 411 19 34.25 75.00 2337 64 77.90 50.00 1305 28 69.72 72.22
Bufflehead 0 0 0.00 0.00 9 1 0.30 3.33 3 1 0.17 5.56
Common merganser 0 0 0.00 0.00 9 2 0.30 6.67 0 0 0.00 0.00
Gadwall 0 0 0.00 0.00 14 1 0.47 3.33 0 0 0.00 0.00
Green-winged teal 0 0 0.00 0.00 2 1 0.07 3.33 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hooded merganser 0 0 0.00 0.00 26 3 0.87 6.67 5 2 0.28 11.11
Mallard 41 5 3.42 25.00 91 16 3.03 40.00 36 15 2.00 55.56
Ring-necked duck 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.03 3.33 12 1 0.67 5.56
Tundra swan 0 0 0.00 0.00 20 1 0.67 3.33 0 0 0.00 0.00
Unidentified duck 5 1 0.42 8.33 168 2 5.60 6.67 4 1 0.22 5.56
Raptors 79 58 165 129 205 128
Accipiters

3
Mean use = number observed within 800 m of survey point per 60-min survey
4
Frequency of occurrence = percent of surveys in which species was observed

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Spring 2006 Fall 2006 Spring 2007


Species/Group mean mean mean
# ind # groups % freq4 # ind # groups % freq # ind # groups % freq
use3 use use
Cooper’s hawkSC 0 0 0.00 0.00 3 3 0.10 10.00 2 1 0.11 5.56
Northern goshawk 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.06 5.56
Sharp-shinned hawkSC 3 3 0.25 25.00 1 1 0.03 3.33 0 0 0.00 0.00
Buteos
Broad-winged hawk 8 6 0.67 33.33 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00
Red-tailed hawk 11 10 0.92 50.00 29 23 0.97 33.33 26 22 1.28 72.22
Rough-legged hawk 2 2 0.17 16.67 2 1 0.07 3.33 5 4 0.28 22.22
Unidentified buteo 1 1 0.08 8.33 2 1 0.07 3.33 5 3 0.00 0.00
Falcons
American kestrel 13 5 1.08 41.67 5 5 0.17 16.67 17 14 0.94 55.56
Peregrine falcon 0 0 0.00 0.00 2 2 0.07 6.67 0 0 0.00 0.00
Other Raptors
Northern harrierST 7 7 0.58 33.33 69 63 2.30 76.67 37 31 1.94 88.89
OspreySC 1 1 0.08 8.33 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.06 5.56
Turkey vulture 29 19 2.42 66.67 50 28 1.67 30.00 111 51 5.50 94.44
Unidentified raptor 4 4 0.33 25.00 2 2 0.07 6.67 0 0 0.00 0.00
Other Birds 20 8 170 65 218 56
American crow 20 8 1.67 41.67 146 56 4.83 70.00 68 35 3.78 94.44
Common raven 0 0 0.00 0.00 1 1 0.03 3.33 5 3 0.28 16.67
European starling 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 110 3 6.11 16.67
Killdeer 0 0 0.00 0.00 4 2 0.13 6.67 5 1 0.28 5.56
Ring-necked pheasant 0 0 0.00 0.00 8 6 0.27 16.67 11 10 0.61 55.56
Rose-breasted grosbeak 0 0 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 7 1 0.39 5.56
Wild turkey 0 0 0.00 0.00 15 2 0.50 6.67 17 4 0.94 22.22
Total 777 113 3050 306 1851 276
ST = State listed threatened; SC = State listed species of special concern

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Table 2. Flight height characteristics and exposure indices by species observed during diurnal raptor migration surveys at the Cape Vincent
wind power project area.
Relation to rotor-swept area5
Mean Use % birds Exposure
Species % below % within % above
flying Index6
Waterbirds 97.47 28.10 29.32 42.59
Bonaparte's gull 0.04 0.00 NA NA NA NA
Caspian tern 0.02 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.02
Common loon 0.01 0.00 NA NA NA NA
Common tern 0.01 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.01
Double-crested cormorant 0.01 100.00 0.00 0.00 100.00 0.00
Great blue heron 0.44 97.30 27.78 61.11 11.11 0.26
Herring gull 0.15 100.00 41.67 58.33 0.00 0.09
Ring-billed gull 1.06 98.84 81.18 17.65 1.18 0.19
Unidentified gull 2.10 100.00 42.69 56.73 0.58 1.19
Waterfowl 98.09 50.97 46.75 2.27
Canada goose 51.00 98.64 28.78 29.87 41.34 15.03
Bufflehead 0.15 75.00 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Common merganser 0.11 100.00 22.22 0.00 77.78 0.00
Gadwall 0.17 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.17
Green-winged teal 0.02 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.02
Hooded merganser 0.38 54.84 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mallard 2.11 84.80 36.55 48.28 15.17 0.86
Ring-necked duck 0.16 0.00 NA NA NA NA
Tundra swan 0.25 100.00 0.00 0.00 100.00 0.00
Unidentified duck 2.19 97.74 0.00 2.89 97.11 0.06
Raptors 95.05 30.63 41.46 27.92
Accipiters 100.00 10.00 50.00 40.00
Cooper's hawk 0.06 100.00 20.00 60.00 20.00 0.04

5
Defined as the area between approximately 25 and 125 m above ground level
6
Exposure index = (mean use) * (% individuals flying) * (% flying within rotor-swept area)

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Relation to rotor-swept area5


Mean Use % birds Exposure
Species % below % within % above
flying Index6
Northern goshawk 0.01 100.00 0.00 0.00 100.00 0.00
Sharp-shinned hawk 0.05 100.00 0.00 50.00 50.00 0.02
Buteo 88.97 21.49 42.98 35.54
Broad-winged hawk 0.10 100.00 0.00 62.50 37.50 0.06
Red-tailed hawk 0.94 90.00 18.06 50.00 31.94 0.42
Rough-legged hawk 0.47 81.58 41.94 35.48 22.58 0.14
Unidentified buteo 0.06 100.00 0.00 0.00 100.00 0.00
Falcon 76.92 93.33 6.67 0.00
American kestrel 0.46 75.68 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Peregrine falcon 0.02 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.02
Owls
Short-eared owl 0.02 100.00 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Other raptors
Northern harrier 1.46 100.00 66.67 24.17 9.17 0.35
Osprey 0.02 100.00 0.00 50.00 50.00 0.01
Turkey vulture 2.20 99.47 4.76 57.14 38.10 1.25
Unidentified raptor 0.07 100.00 16.67 33.33 50.00 0.02
Other Birds
American crow 3.56 87.20 51.59 38.10 10.32 1.18
Common raven 0.07 100.00 66.67 33.33 0.00 0.02
European starling 1.36 68.18 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Killdeer 0.11 100.00 44.44 55.56 0.00 0.06
Ring-necked pheasant 0.26 19.05 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Rose-breasted grosbeak 0.09 100.00 0.00 100.00 0.00 0.09
Wild turkey 0.52 4.76 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

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All Birds for Spring 2006 Raptors for Spring 2006

90 15
80
70 12
60

Mean use
Mean use

9
50
40
6
30
20 3
10
0 0
1 2 3 1 2 3
Station Station

All Birds for Fall 2006 Raptors for Fall 2006

300 15
250
12
200
Mean use

Mean use
9
150
6
100
50 3

0 0
1 2 3 1 2 3
Station Station

Figure 14. Diurnal avian mean use estimates for each survey point by season at the Cape Vincent wind power project area.

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Avian and Bat Studies Report

All Birds for Spring 2007 Raptors for Spring 2007

160 15
140
12
120
Mean use

Mean use
100 9
80
60 6
40
3
20
0 0
1 2 3 1 2 3
Station Station

Figure 15 (continued). Diurnal avian mean use estimates for each survey point by season at the Cape Vincent wind power project area.

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Breeding Bird Survey

The objective of the breeding bird surveys was to estimate the spatial and temporal use of the
proposed development area by breeding resident birds. The emphasis of the surveys was
locating and counting breeding resident birds within the area proposed for development. The
surveys were conducted based on the regional timing recommended for USGS BBS in central
New York (USGS 2001).

Methods

Twenty survey points were established within the project area. The survey points were selected
to cover as much of the proposed development area and habitat types as possible. Each survey
station was marked on a map and GPS coordinates were recorded for mapping (Figure 15). The
habitat at each survey point was described to examine the applicability of the site to represent
other areas within the proposed development area.

U.S. Geological Survey Breeding Bird Survey (USGS 2001) methods were used for the surveys.
Each survey plot was a variable circular plot centered on the observation point. All birds
observed were recorded; however, the survey effort was concentrated within an approximate 400
m (0.25 mi) radius circle centered on the observation point. All points were surveyed twice
during the recommended survey period (June - July) and seven days were skipped between the
surveys to spread the effort over the breeding season.

Survey periods at each point were 3 minutes long, similar to the BBS method. The date; start
and end time of the observation period; and weather information such as temperature, wind
speed, wind direction, and cloud cover were recorded for each survey. Species or best possible
identification, number of individuals of each species, how observed (visual or auditory), and
behavior (flying, perching, singing, etc.) were recorded for each observation during the 3-minute
count at each survey point.

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Figure 16. Breeding bird survey point count locations for the Cape Vincent wind power project
area.

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Results

Point count surveys were conducted on June 29 and July 6, 2006. Each point was surveyed
twice, for a total of 40 survey periods. A total of 812 individual birds were observed in 462
groups (Table 3). Sixty-three species were observed during the surveys. Red-winged blackbird,
bobolink, and song sparrow were the most common passerines observed based on mean use
estimates (number observed within 400 m per 3-minute survey). The majority of the species
recorded during breeding bird surveys are species commonly associated with agriculture,
grasslands, and/or edge habitat. Several species of interest were recorded during the breeding
bird surveys including northern harrier and Henslow’s sparrow, two New York state threatened
species; horned lark, grasshopper sparrow, and vesper sparrow, three New York state species of
concern; and bobolink and wood thrush, two species on the USFWS 2002 Birds of Conservation
Concern list for the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain region.

Table 3. Avian species observed during breeding bird surveys within the Cape Vincent wind
power project area.
Species/Group # of individuals # of groups Mean Use
Waterbirds 46 10 1.15
Double-crested cormorant 2 1 0.05
Great blue heron 6 5 0.15
Ring-billed gull 38 4 0.95
Waterfowl 55 3 1.375
Canada goose 12 1 0.3
Mallard 8 1 0.2
Unidentified duck 35 1 0.875
Shorebirds 22 8 0.55
Killdeer 7 7 0.175
Unidentified shorebird 15 1 0.375
Raptors/Vultures 41 30 1.025
American kestrel 9 8 0.225
Northern harrierST 8 6 0.2
Red-tailed hawk 6 5 0.15
Turkey vulture 18 11 0.45
Passerines 612 394 15.095
American crow 41 16 1.025
American goldfinch 27 17 0.675
American redstart 2 2 0.05
American robin 31 26 0.775
Baltimore oriole 1 1 0.025
Barn swallow 19 6 0.475
Black-and-white warbler 3 2 0.075
Black-capped chickadee 8 4 0.02
Blue jay 6 6 0.15
BobolinkBCC 65 38 1.625
Brown-headed cowbird 8 5 0.2

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Species/Group # of individuals # of groups Mean Use


Carolina wren 1 1 0.025
Cedar waxwing 27 8 0.675
Chestnut-sided warbler 10 10 0.25
Chipping sparrow 2 2 0.05
Common grackle 22 9 0.55
Common yellowthroat 21 16 0.525
Eastern bluebird 1 1 0.025
Eastern kingbird 20 13 0.5
Eastern meadowlark 26 24 0.65
Eastern towhee 19 16 0.475
Eastern tufted titmouse 2 1 0.05
Empidonax sp. 1 1 0.025
European starling 13 4 0.325
Field sparrow 2 2 0.05
Grasshopper sparrowSC 2 2 0.05
Gray catbird 6 6 0.15
Henslow’s sparrowST, BCC 1 1 0.025
House finch 1 1 0.025
Horned larkSC 3 2 0.05
Indigo bunting 1 1 0.025
Northern cardinal 3 2 0.075
Ovenbird 4 3 0.1
Red-eyed vireo 6 6 0.15
Red-winged blackbird 75 38 1.875
Savannah sparrow 19 15 0.475
Scarlet tanager 2 2 0.05
Song sparrow 55 44 1.375
Tree swallow 4 2 0.1
Unidentified passerine 7 1 0.175
Unidentified sparrow 5 3 0.125
Vesper sparrowSC 1 1 0.025
Wood thrushBCC 3 3 0.075
Yellow warbler 38 32 0.95
Upland Gamebirds 3 3 0.075
Ring-necked pheasant 2 2 0.05
Ruffed grouse 1 1 0.025
Doves 24 6 0.6
Mourning dove 5 3 0.125
Rock pigeon 19 3 0.475
Other Birds 6 6 0.15
Downy woodpecker 1 1 0.025
Northern flicker 3 3 0.075
Red-bellied woodpecker 1 1 0.025
Unidentified woodpecker 1 1 0.025
All Birds 812 462 20.02
ST = State listed threatened; SC = State listed species of special concern; BBC = Birds of Conservation Concern

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Nocturnal AnaBat Surveys

The objective of the nocturnal AnaBat surveys was to record the relative abundance of echo-
locating bats flying through the sampling area during summer breeding season and the spring and
fall migration seasons.

Methods

Bat activity at the project area was recorded using an AnaBat II ultrasonic bat detector attached
to a zero-crossing analysis interface module (ZCAIM) which houses a compact flash memory
card for temporary download of ultrasonic activity files. To sample continuously on remote
mode (automatic data collection), the detector and ZCAIM were powered by an external 12V
battery. Each AnaBat unit (detector, ZCAIM, and 12V battery) was enclosed inside a plastic box
or dry bag with the detector microphone positioned against a PVC tube protruding from the
box/bag. This design prevented water from damaging the AnaBat units without compromising
the ability of the unit to detect ultrasonic noise in the environment. To minimize variation
among AnaBats, sensitivity settings were calibrated for each unit prior to data collection. Most
AnaBat units were set at or near setting 7 on the sensitivity dial. Each AnaBat unit was
positioned so that the microphone faced the same cardinal direction, east, for each sampling
period. Calls were recorded from approximately sunset to sunrise (1900 – 0700). AnaBat units
were removed from the field approximately once per week to download files, recharge batteries,
and troubleshoot technical problems. Data gathered from the passive AnaBat units at the met
tower were used to calculate bat activity (designated as number of calls/detector-night) present at
the site during the sampling periods. Nights that experienced any number of technical
difficulties were not included in the final analyses.

During the spring sampling season (April 13 – June 2), three AnaBat sampling locations were
established (Figure 16). One unit was placed in the open grassy field at the project met tower
and two other units were deployed near wooded riparian areas within the project to increase
likelihood of detecting additional species. One of these riparian units, centrally located in the
project area, was stolen in late spring and never recovered. The remaining two sampling
locations (Met tower and Riparian 1) were maintained through the summer sampling season
(June 28 – August 8). During fall (August 13 – October 9), two pulley systems were attached to
the met tower guy wires which allowed AnaBat units to be deployed at three different levels:
ground level (1 m above ground), approximately 25m high (half way up the met tower), and
approximately 50m high (near the top of the met tower).

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Figure 16. AnaBat survey locations for the Cape Vincent wind power project area.

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In addition to the stationary passive units, a “roaming” or mobile AnaBat unit was deployed
during the summer to assess resident/breeding bat species present within the project area (Figure
16). Roaming sampling was conducted using a handheld AnaBat unit for 9 nights (3 sampling
periods of 3 consecutive nights each) at habitats likely to have high numbers of resident bats. To
select locations for active sampling, reconnaissance visits were made to the project area during
the day time to select sampling locations based on the presence of travel corridors (trails and
roads), linear landscape features (forest edges), and access to water; habitat features known to be
important for bats. Active sampling was conducted from sunset until 4 hours after sunset
(approximately 2100 – 0100).

Analysis of bat calls was conducted using Analook software (DOS version). Analook displays
ultrasonic activity in a format similar to a sonogram used for analysis of bird vocalizations (e.g.,
frequency versus time). Species identification was aided by the Preliminary Key to the
Qualitative Identification of Calls within the AnaBat System (Amelon 2005, unpublished data)
where characteristics such as slope, frequency, minimum frequency, consistency of minimum
frequency, and shape of pulse assist in the identification of bat vocalizations. Due to similarity
of call characteristics, two species (big brown and silver-haired bat) were lumped into one
species category. All Myotis-like calls were identified to genus only and submitted to
NYSDEC-recommended biologist, Eric Britzke, for identification to species. To obtain species
identifications, an ID filter (Britzke and Murray 2001) was loaded into Analook to determine
calls sequences of sufficient quality and length for possible species identification. Once
separated, echolocation calls of sufficient quality and length were categorized using quantitative
techniques (Britzke 2003). Quantitative analyses are conducted by a cross-validated
classification model based on 10 extracted call parameters [duration (Dur), maximum frequency
(Fmax), minimum frequency (Fmin), mean frequency (Fmean), duration to the knee (Tk),
frequency of the knee (Fk), duration of the body (Tc), frequency of the body (Fc), initial slope
(S1), and slope of the body (Sc)] collected from 1,846 sequences (35,979 calls) of 12 eastern
U.S. bat species (Britzke 2003). Average accuracy rates for species identification using this
statistical method ranges from 56.9% (eastern red bat) to 98.5 % (gray bat), with accuracy rates
for Indiana bat ranging from 81.4% to 88.6%.

Results

The total number of calls and number of calls per night, recorded by each AnaBat unit at the met
tower varied by season (Table 4). Spring sampling began on April 13, 2006 and recorded
continuously until June 2, 2006. The AnaBat unit detected 241 bat calls total (4.92 calls/night)
during the 49 days of spring sampling. Summer sampling occurred at the met tower on 15 nights
and recorded a total of 431 calls (28.73 calls/night). During fall, sampling occurred at 3 different
heights at the met tower. The AnaBat unit positioned at ground level recorded the highest
number of bat vocalizations per night (9.90 calls/night). Despite a similar number of sampling
days, the low position AnaBat unit recorded significantly more bat calls/night than either the
mid- or high-level units.

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Table 4. Number of sampling days, total number of calls recorded, and calls/night recorded by
each AnaBat unit at the met tower for spring, summer, and fall sampling periods.
# of sampling
days used in Total # of
Season Location analysis calls # calls/night
Spring Met tower low 49 241 4.92

Summer Met tower low 15 431 28.73

Fall Met tower low 48 475 9.90


mid 48 205 4.27
high 51 33 0.65

At least four species of bats were recorded at the met tower location (Table 5). Due to similarity
of call characteristics, two species (big brown and silver-haired bat) were lumped into one
species category. As is typical with AnaBat sampling, the majority of vocalizations were unable
to be identified due to the few number of pulses per call (<5 pulses/call sequence). Relative call
frequency was calculated by dividing the number of calls recorded for each species by the total
number of calls for each season. Of those calls that were able to be identified to species, Myotis
calls accounted for most of the vocalizations recorded in the spring and summer, while eastern
red bat accounted for most vocalizations in the fall.

Table 5. Relative call frequency of species recorded at the met tower during the sampling
periods of each season.
Species Relative Call Frequency
Common Name Scientific Name Spring Summer Fall

Big brown bat/ Eptescus fuscus/ 0.062 0.130 0.105


Silver-haired bat Lasionycteris noctivagans

Eastern red bat Lasiurus borealis 0.154 0.160 0.180

Hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus 0.004 0.046 0.036

Myotis species Myotis spp. 0.237 0.204 0.039

No identification 0.544 0.459 0.640

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Summer sampling with the mobile AnaBat unit occurred on nine nights and recorded 316 bat
calls. The objective of the mobile sampling was to identify, to the extent possible, species and
relative abundance of each species using the Cape Vincent project area. No additional species
were recorded during the roaming surveys that were not recorded at the met tower station. As
with the fixed station sampling, the majority of the calls could not be identified to species. The
highest number of recorded calls was of big brown bat (Table 6); however, >50% of those calls
occurred on one night at one location and may have been from only one or a few individuals
echo-locating repeatedly near the AnaBat microphone.

Table 6. Number of detections by species during summer roaming AnaBat sampling.


Species Date Sampled
Common Scientific 6/28 6/29 6/30 7/24 7/25 7/26 8/06 8/07 8/08
Name Name 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs 4 hrs
Big brown bat Eptescus fuscus 8 3 0 33 7 0 8 2 0

Eastern red bat Lasiurus borealis 0 1 0 0 0 7 2 0 2

Hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0

Myotis species Myotis spp. 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0

No Species ID 42 17 15 48 8 10 41 53 3
Total Detections/night 50 22 15 84 15 19 51 55 5

Following the qualitative screening, 203 call files with characteristics resembling Myotis species
were submitted to Eric Britzke for further analysis. Of those files, 83 calls (40.9%) did not
contain sufficient enough information to be processed quantitatively. The remaining calls were
analyzed quantitatively on a nightly basis by site (Britzke 2003). Calls meeting the quantitative
criteria for the following species were identified: eastern red bat (36 calls), little brown bat (44
calls), Indiana bat (25 calls), and northern myotis (15 calls).

Winter Waterfowl and Raptor Surveys

The objective of the waterfowl and winter raptor surveys was to estimate spatial and temporal
use of the site by migrant and wintering waterfowl and raptor species. During initial project
scoping, the agencies raised concerns over the potential for the proposed wind project to impact
wintering waterfowl and raptors.

Methods

Driving transect surveys were conducted along most roads through the proposed project area that
allowed nearly complete coverage of the project area (Figure 17). Surveys consisted of driving
transects to locate and count winter waterfowl in the project area. In addition, nine 30-minute
point count surveys were conducted at each of the fixed point count stations that were used

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during the migrant raptor surveys (see above). All waterfowl and raptor observations were
plotted on maps of the survey points or coordinates (UTMs) were recorded along the road for
each group observed during driving surveys. Surveys were generally conducted in the early
morning or late evening hours when waterfowl were most active. In addition to waterfowl, all
raptors and other waterbirds were recorded during the surveys.

Results

Driving surveys in the Cape Vincent project area were conducted on nine days between
November 5, 2006 and March 1, 2007. Approximately 27 hours of survey time were spent
during the driving transects over the winter seasons and a total of 13.5 hours of surveys were
conducted at the three fixed-point count stations. A total of 395 individuals in 96 groups of
waterbirds, waterfowl, raptors and other birds were recorded during the winter driving surveys
(Table 7) and 255 individuals in 87 groups were recorded during the winter fixed point counts
(Table 8). Two (2) species of waterfowl were observed either during the fixed point count
surveys or the driving surveys across the study area. Two waterbirds species, six raptor species,
and four other bird species were also recorded during the surveys. Based on use estimates
derived from the fixed point surveys, Canada goose was the most common waterfowl species
observed during the winter surveys (Table 7 and 8). Rough legged hawk and red-tailed hawk
were the most common raptor species (Table 7 and 8).

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Figure 17. Waterfowl and winter raptor driving transects with species location recorded for the project area.

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Table 7. Waterfowl and raptors observed while conducting winter 2007 driving surveys at the
Cape Vincent wind power project area.
Winter 2007
Species/Group # of individuals # of groups
Waterbirds
Ring-billed gull 48 1
Waterfowl
Canada goose 41 3
Raptors/Vultures
American kestrel 4 4
Northern harrier 7 6
Red-tailed hawk 19 18
Rough-legged hawk 36 30
Other Birds
American crow 13 9
Ring-necked pheasant 9 5
Wild turkey 218 20
Total 395 96

Table 8. Waterfowl and raptors observed while conducting winter 2007 fixed point
surveys at the Cape Vincent wind power project area.
Winter 2007
Species/Group # ind # groups Mean use7 % freq8
Waterbirds
Unidentified gull 1 1 0.05 4.76
Waterfowl
Canada goose 128 3 6.10 4.76
Mallard 3 1 0.14 4.76
Raptors
American kestrel 2 2 0.10 9.52
Northern harrier 7 6 0.33 28.57
Red-tailed hawk 14 13 0.62 47.62
Rough-legged hawk 29 25 1.38 80.95
Short-eared owl 2 1 0.10 4.76
Unidentified buteo 2 1 0.10 4.76
Other Birds
American crow 55 30 2.62 80.95
Ring-necked pheasant 2 2 0.10 9.52
Rose-breasted grosbeak 0 0 0.00 0.00
Wild turkey 10 2 0.48 9.52
Total 255 87 12.10

7
Mean use = number observed within 800 m of survey point per 30-min survey
8
Frequency of occurrence = percent of surveys in which species was observed

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DISCUSSION

Nocturnal Marine Radar Survey

The nocturnal radar study was designed to collect data that could be used to characterize
nocturnal migration over the site and also be used in a larger statewide comparison of results
from numerous sites (M. Woythal, NYSDEC, pers. comm.). In the analysis, the radar data were
not corrected for differences in detectability with distance from the radar unit or due to ground
clutter on the radar screen. Also, the 2-dimensional area represented by the radar image was
treated as a 1-dimensional 3-km “front” perpendicular to the direction of migration, and all
targets counted in the radar image during the sampling period were treated as if they had crossed
the front. Thus, passage rate estimates should be considered a sample or index of the actual
number of targets passing through the area.

Measurements from radar studies potentially are highly variable due to a number of factors
including observer bias and the radar settings affecting target detection. To minimize these
biases, efforts were made to standardize data collection and radar settings as much as possible.
For example, the radar was operated under the shortest pulse length setting with the gain control
turned up to near the highest setting. While short wave-length and high gain insure detection of
small targets, these settings also have the effect of producing atmospheric or background noise
on the screen which consequently can obscure small targets. To “clean up” the screen the anti-
sea clutter [which minimizes clutter and noise close to the radar] was slowly turned up to the
point where background noise was dispersed and limited primarily to the outer edge of the
screen. The anti-rain clutter [which reduces interference from small targets throughout the
survey area (e.g., rain drops)] was kept at the lowest setting so that no small targets would be
eliminated. These settings insure that small targets such as individual passerines can be detected
by the radar. Also during sampling, specific functions or capabilities of the radar were used to
determine data values to minimize observer bias. For example, the electronic bearing line and
variable range marker used in offset mode allowed the compass bearing of a target trail and the
speed at which the target was moving to be measured by the radar as opposed to estimated by the
observer or measured with a hand held scale.

Results from the nocturnal radar study conducted at the Cape Vincent project area were similar
to other radar studies in New York and the eastern U.S. (Table 9). Mean fall flight direction for
the Cape Vincent project area was 209º and for the spring was 34º, slightly more southwesterly
and northeasterly than most other New York studies but within the range of directions reported at
other New York sites. Mean passage rate for fall 2006 was higher (346 t/km/hr) than the average
for NY and the eastern U.S. (259 t/km/hr); however, it fell within the overall range of passage
rates reported at other New York sites. Conversely, spring passage rate was on the lower end of
the range of other studies. Mean flight height of targets was approximately 490 m in the fall and
441 m in the spring, which is similar to other studies in NY and near the means for all reported
studies in the eastern U.S. (Table 9). The percent of targets (~8% fall and ~14% spring) which
flew through the zone of risk, defined as the air space below 125 m, were also very near the
mean for all other studies where flight height was recorded with vertical mode radar.

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Table 9. Results of radar studies at proposed and existing wind project sites in the U.S.
Passage
Site Rates Mean Flight % Targets Mean Flight
(t/km/hr) Height (m) below 125 m Direction
Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr
Cape Vincent Wind Power, NY 346 166 490 441 8 14 209 34
(this report)
Dairy Hills, Wyoming Co., NY 170 234 466 397 10 15 180 14
(Young et al. 2006)
Alabama Ledge, Genessee Co., NY 165 200 487 413 11 14 219 35
(Young et al. 2007)
Flat Rock, NY 158 415 8 184
(Mabee et al. 2005)
Chautauqua, NY 238 395 532 528 5 4 199 29
(Cooper et al. 2004a,b)
Prattsburgh (1), NY 200 170 365 319 9 18 177 18
(Mabee et al. 2004, 2005)
Clinton County, NY 197 110 333 338 12 20 162 30
(Mabee et al. 2006)
Marble River, NY 152 254 438 422 5 11 193 40
(Woodlot Alternatives 2006a,b)
Jordanville, NY 380 409 440 371 6 21 208 40
(Woodlot Alternatives 2005a, b)
Prattsburgh (2), NY 193 277 516 370 3 16 188 22
(B. Roy, pers. comm. 2006)
West Hill, NY 732 160 664 291 3 25 223 31
(Woodlot Alternatives 2005)
High Sheldon, NY 197 112 422 418 3 6 213 29
(Woodlot Alternatives 2005)
Fairfield Top Notch, NY 691 509 516 419 4 20 198 44
(B. Gary, NYDEC, pers. comm.)
Searsburg, VT 178 404 556 523 4 6 203 69
(Roy and Pelletier 2005a, 2005b)
Sheffield, VT 109 199 564 522 1 6 200 40
(Roy et al. 2005)
Martindale, PA 187 436 8 188
(Plissner et al. 2005)
Casselman, PA 174 448 7 219
(Plissner et al. 2005)
Mount Storm, WV 199 410 16 184
(Young et al. 2004)
Mean 259 259 472 412 7 14 197 34
Note: Some values are approximations based on the limited information provided in the report or averaged
over more than one sampling location (e.g., Flat Rock, Mount Storm).

While the overall patterns of nocturnal migration in New York and along the Great Lakes
shorelines are generally unknown, passage rates could be expected to be higher for coastal sites
if birds and bats tend to move around the lakes as opposed to flying directly over them. Diurnal
migrants such as raptors are known to concentrate along and move parallel to the shorelines of
large water bodies. If nocturnal migrants behave in a similar manner, then it would be expected
that greater passage rates would be recorded for coastal sites than interior sites. For the studies

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conducted in New York, while results have been variable, the highest fall passage rates have
been recorded at interior sites. For spring migration results again were variable with the highest
passages rates coming from a coastal site as well as two interior sites (see Table 9). The results
from the Cape Vincent study do not appear to support the hypothesis that nocturnal migrants
concentrate along the shoreline.

The passage rates in the study area may have been influenced locally by the close proximity of
the radar unit to the shoreline (<1.5 km), though this distance was recommended by the
NYSDEC and USFWS to investigate this question, or by weather patterns influenced by the
coastal environment. During the fall the distribution of targets flying over the site was generally
higher and relatively few targets were recorded within the zone of risk (see Figure 12). During
the spring season the results were more variable. While the mean flight height was greater than
125 m on all nights, the median flight height value fell within the zone of risk on two nights
indicating that half the targets recorded on those nights were within the zone of risk. Weather
variables recorded during the nights in the spring when target altitude was relatively lower
suggest that weather events may have influenced migrant flight altitudes. Both nights when the
median value fell below 125 m had intermittent precipitation with substantial cloud cover and
lower passage rates (see Figure 5 and 6). While the results indicate some elevated risk on some
nights, based on the overall radar survey results, collision risk to migrants within the project area
is not expected to be greater than other sites studied in New York.

Raptor Migration Surveys

Typical raptor species for central New York were observed during the surveys (Table 1). No
federally-listed species were observed; however, peregrine falcon (state endangered) and
northern harrier (state threatened) were recorded. Two individual peregrines were observed
during the fall survey season. The exposure index calculated for this species is very low (0.07).
Northern harrier were much more common and were the most common raptor observed in the
fall. Despite their abundance in the project area, the exposure risk to this species is generally
low (0.08 in spring, 0.67 in fall). Harriers are in general low-level fliers and were often observed
flying below the zone of risk (86% in spring, 64% in fall). Three New York species of special
concern, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and common loon, were also observed during
surveys.

Based on a standardization of raptors observed per survey hour, the Cape Vincent project area
has less traffic than the known hawk watch sites in New York. The nearest spring hawk watch
site to the project area, Derby Hill Bird Observatory, was somewhat variable over the same
survey days; however, the overall mean number of raptors observed per surveyor hour was far
greater (Table 10). Large numbers of broad-winged hawks were observed at Derby Hill on
4/21/06; however, surveys within the Cape Vincent project area failed to record high numbers of
this species passing over the site. Spring raptor migration surveys were repeated in 2007 and
started earlier in the season to look for potential eagle migrants. Overall migrant passage rate in
2007 was higher than 2006 however, it was still substantially lower than the established hawk
watch sites (Table 10). Many of the hawk watch sites are located in areas where the coastal plain
along the lake shore is narrow creating a funneling effect concentrating migrant raptors in space.

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Based on the topography in the Cape Vincent peninsula area and Jefferson County there is little
to concentrate migrant raptors moving north and the study results appear to indicate that raptor
migration is more dispersed in the project region.

Table 10. Number of raptors observed per surveyor hour in the project area and at six
established New York spring/fall hawk watch sites.

Spring 2006 Cape Vincent Ripley Hawk Hamburg Braddock Derby


Wind Project Bay Hill
4/14/06 6.7 31.4 83.8 no survey 21.5
4/21/06 10.3 35.9 17.9 no survey 353.1
5/02/06 3.3 17.3 0.8 no survey 6.0
5/12/06 6.0 5.6 5.2 no survey 44.8
Average 6.5 22.5 26.9 -- 106.3

Spring 2007 Cape Vincent Ripley Hawk Hamburg Braddock Derby


Wind Project Bay Hill
3/21/07 3.0 23.8 7.1 25.2 77.9
3/31/07 18.0 27.9 123.5 53.5 74.1
4/11/07 11.3 31.0 19.2 38.4 71.7
4/14/07 1.0 31.4 83.8 95.1 81.1
4/17/07 6.0 2.0 1.09 no survey no survey
4/20/07 8.7 44.2 26.2 101.6 43.0
4/22/07 11.0 96.0 82.1 156.1 111.5
5/01/07 12.3 39.3 0.0 no survey 66.4
Average 9.8 37.0 42.9 78.3 75.1

Fall 2006 Cape Vincent Franklin Mt. Mohonk Preserve Mount Peter
9/23/06 3 1 no survey 1
9/30/06 7 3 2 5
10/07/06 12 10 no survey 3
10/13/06 9 3 11 7
10/20/06 2 no survey no survey no survey
10/27/06 9 20 11 5
10/30/06 5 15 16 10
11/05/06 4 1 no survey 1
11/07/06 2 0 no survey 2
11/11/06 2 2 no survey no survey
Average 5.5 9 10 3.4
Daily count data acquired from HMANA 2006.

There are no fall hawk watch sites along the lake shoreline in central New York. The nearest fall
site, Kestrel Haven located in south central New York, was lower than the Cape Vincent project
area in terms of raptors counted per surveyor hour; however, count data for this site is only

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available for 2005 so a direct comparison of actual survey days could not be made. Fall hawk
watch sites further south and east, such as Franklin Mountain, record similar numbers of migrant
raptors which are likely taking advantage of ridgelines of the western Appalachian Mountains;
however, timing is different among sites. Higher numbers of raptors per surveyor hour were
seen earlier in the fall season at the Cape Vincent project area than at more southern sites. This
may be a reflection of the more northern latitude of the study area or summer residents, such as
red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, and northern harrier, still in the area.

Exposure indices are a common method for estimating risk to individual species from wind
turbines. During both migratory seasons, non-raptor species had the highest exposure index due
to high use of the area by waterfowl and waterbirds, such as Canada goose and gull species
(Table 2). At the Cape Vincent project area, raptors in general did not have high exposure
indices due to either low numbers recorded or flight heights outside of the zone of risk. Turkey
vulture had the highest exposure index; they were commonly observed and were most often
observed flying in the zone of risk. While these species have been recorded as fatalities at other
monitored wind plants, the number of fatalities are relatively small (see Erickson et al. 2001,
2002). Red-tailed hawk was seen less frequently but was often seen flying in the zone of risk. In
contrast, northern harrier were often recorded, particularly during fall migration, but rarely
observed flying into the zone of risk and is rarely recorded as fatalities at other monitored wind
facilities (see Erickson et al. 2001, 2002).

Breeding Bird Survey

The results of the breeding bird surveys were typical of agricultural settings in central New York.
Frequently recorded species included bobolink, red-winged blackbird, and song sparrow. A few
woodland species, such as wood thrush and ovenbird, were observed in small wooded areas and
wetlands scattered throughout the project area. Several species of gulls and waterfowl are also
present in the area due to the proximity to the shoreline. The closest breeding bird survey
(Watertown; Sauer 2005) reported similar species occurrences and abundances. Five species
listed by the NYSDEC were observed within the Cape Vincent project area: northern harrier,
Henslow’s sparrow, horned lark, grasshopper sparrow, and vesper sparrow. Northern harrier and
Henslow’s sparrow are listed as state threatened species. The remaining three species are listed
as Special Concern species for New York (NYSDEC 2003). Bobolink, Henslow’s sparrow, and
wood thrush are included on the 2002 Birds of Conservation Concern list for Lower Great
Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain region (USFWS 2002) in which the Cape Vincent project area occurs.

Based on the breeding bird survey data collected in 2006, the Cape Vincent project area does not
appear to have any large or unusual populations of breeding resident birds. Mortality results
from two other eastern wind plants studied indicate that turbines on eastern mountain ridgelines
result in between 4 and 8 bird fatalities per turbine per year (see Kerns and Kerlinger 2004 and
Nicholson 2002, 2003). In both these studies it was estimated that approximately two-thirds of
the avian fatalities were migrants. Provided impacts at the Cape Vincent project area are similar,
it is not expected that breeding resident birds are at great risk from the wind project. Due to the
diversity of birds recorded in the mixed farmland habitat, impacts are expected to be spread over

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several commonly observed species (see Table 3). Currently, turbine layout is unknown;
therefore, potential impacts to breeding habitat of sensitive species are difficult to predict.

Nocturnal AnaBat Surveys

To date monitoring studies of wind projects have shown a few common trends in bat mortality.
Risk to bats from turbines appears to be unequal across species and seasons where increased
mortality occurs during the post-breeding or fall migration season (roughly mid-July through
September) among migrant bats species (see Johnson 2005). Some studies have shown apparent
low risk from turbines to resident bat populations (Johnson et al. 2003) while others have shown
that mortality is not correlated with AnaBat call rates (Nicholson 2002, 2003). The post-
construction mortality data collected at existing regional projects appears to be the best available
predictor of mortality levels and species composition for proposed wind projects. Some studies
of wind projects have recorded both AnaBat detections per night and bat mortality (Table 11).
The number of bat calls per night as determined from AnaBat detectors shows a rough
correlation with bat mortality but may be misleading because effort, timing of sampling, species
recorded, and detector settings (equipment and locations) varied among studies.

Table 11. Wind projects in the U.S. with both AnaBat sampling data and mortality data for bat
species.
Detector Bat activity Mortality
Project Area Study Period nights (#/detector/night) (bats/turbine/yr) Reference
Mountaineer, WV Aug 1-Sep 14, 2004 33 38.3 38.0 Arnett 2005
Top of Iowa, IA Sep 4-Oct 9, 2003; 42 34.9 10.2 Koford et al.
May 26-Sep 24, 2004 2005
Foote Creek Rim, WY Jun 15-Sep 1, 2000-01 39 2.2 1.3 Gruver 2002
Buffalo Ridge, MN Jun 15-Sep 1, 2001 216 2.1 2.2 Johnson et al.
2003
Buffalo Mountain, TN Apr 1-Sep 30, 2001-02 149 23.7 20.8 Fieldler 2004

The number of bats detected per night at the Cape Vincent met tower was highest in the summer.
Mortality studies of bats at wind projects in the U.S. have shown a peak in mortality in August
and September and generally lower mortality earlier in the summer (see Johnson 2005). While
the survey efforts varied among the different studies, the studies that included AnaBat surveys
and fatality surveys showed a general association between the timing of bat calls and timing of
mortality, with both peak call rates and peak mortality occurring during the fall (Table 11). Bat
activity expressed as the average number of calls per detector-night recorded in the study area
(~0.65 to 28.7 bats per detector night) was not as high as the projects recording the highest bat
mortality (Table 11) and the highest call rate (~28.7 bats per detector-night) occurred in the
summer when bat mortality has typically been lower at other studies in the U.S. (Johnson 2005).
The nearest monitoring study of a wind project to the Cape Vincent site was the recent study at
the Maple Ridge project (Jain et al. 2007). Estimates of bat mortality at the Maple Ridge site
varied from 9.2 to 14.8 fatalities per MW (15.2 to 24.5 fatalities per turbine) (Jain et al. 2007).
Pre-project summer bat activity recorded at the Maple Ridge site (20.6 calls per detector-hour;
Reynolds 2004) was higher than Cape Vincent (~3.2 calls per detector-hour for summer passive

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sampling). This may indicate that bat mortality at Cape Vincent would be lower than Maple
Ridge, but summer bat mortality is generally lower at all wind projects studied including Maple
Ridge (Jain et al 2007, Johnson 2005). No AnaBat surveys were conducted in the fall at Maple
Ridge (Reynolds 2004) for comparison when bats are most at risk. Based on the AnaBat data
passage rates, it is not expected that bat mortality at Cape Vincent would be greater than that
reported at Maple Ridge. It is expected that bat mortality at the Cape Vincent project area will
be similar to the other studies in the U.S. with the peak of mortality likely occurring near late
August or early September. Spring and summer mortality levels for bats are expected to be low.

Species Identification - While interspecific variation in echolocation call structure exists among
the Myotis species, significant variation can exist intraspecifically among individuals and
populations (Broders et al. 2004). Plasticity among calls of an individual based on a number of
factors (e.g., habitat, presence of conspecifics, foraging, etc.) can further confound species
identification (Barclay and Brigham 2004). Given the similarity of Myotis species, both
morphologically and acoustically, these species are generally acknowledged as being among the
more difficult to identify. To determine presence of a federally endangered Myotis species,
Indiana bat, within the Cape Vincent project area, all call files with signatures resembling Myotis
species were submitted for quantitative analysis to Eric Britzke, a bat biologist recommended by
NYSDEC. A total of 208 call files were analyzed using a classification model based on
discriminate function analysis (DFA) that utilizes 10 quantitative measures of individual call
sequences (Britzke 2003, Britzke and Murray 2001). As is typical of AnaBat call analysis, the
majority of the calls were still unable to be categorized to species using the procedure. Of those
calls with adequate signatures, 25 had call parameters similar to Indiana bat. Calls with
characteristics of Indiana bat were recorded at several locations within the project area from May
– September. No sampled nights at any site had >2 call files with characteristics of Indiana bat.
Due to the probabilistic nature and opportunity for misidentification and inaccuracy in species
identification, multiple calls of a species must be detected in a single night to definitively
determine species presence (Britzke et al. 2002). This is a conservative approach, but serves to
ensure that variation caused by inaccurate identification is not included in the species
identification results. Based on this approach, there are insufficient files to statistically support
the presence of Indiana bats at any of the sites or nights examined (E. Britzke, pers.
communication), however, there is some probability that Indiana bat occurs on the site.

The Cape Vincent project area is within the recognized range of Indiana bat in New York. There
is a known Indiana bat winter hibernaculum near Watertown and movement of females
dispersing from that cave to breeding areas has been tracked by NYSDEC to areas approximately
6 miles east of the project (NYSDEC 2006). Suitable roosting habitat, characterized by trees or
snags >5 inches in diameter with exfoliating bark and cracks/crevices (USFWS 1999), is present
within the project area. Additionally, several riparian areas and wetlands, such as forested
wetland and floodplain forests, occur within the project area and provide foraging and roosting
habitat for Indiana bat and other bat species.

The results of the AnaBat surveys along with available information suggest that Indiana bats may
occupy the site in low density. Because of the status of this species, further investigations
including habitat mapping and potentially mist-netting surveys are warranted. Additional study

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scope, methods, and objectives will be discussed with the NYSDEC and USFWS and
implemented in 2007 and 2008. Detailed habitat mapping for the species, with a focus on
suitable trees/woodlots for maternal colonies, is recommended. The utility of mist-netting to
confirm presence/absence of the species and likelihood of impacts based on relative density
within the project area will be further evaluated in consultation with the agencies.

Waterfowl and Winter Raptor Surveys

Due to the coastal nature of the project area, potential impacts to waterfowl and raptors that
frequent the area during migration and winter was raised as a concern. Two species of waterbird,
two species of waterfowl and six species of raptors were recorded in the project area during the
winter surveys. The vast majority of the waterfowl use of the site was of Canada goose.
Generally, geese were observed in large flocks foraging in agricultural fields and flying over the
Cape Vincent wind power project area. In general, waterfowl fatalities, including Canada goose,
at wind projects are rare (see Erickson et al 2001, 2002, Koford et al. 2005). While the proposed
Cape Vincent wind power project would increase risk of collision related mortality to Canada
goose, impacts are not expected to be significant due to the large numbers of this species in the
region and the low occurrence of collision fatalities at wind projects. The most common raptor
species recorded during the driving and fixed point surveys were rough-legged and red-tailed
hawk. These raptor species have a relatively low exposure index (Table 2), although red-tailed
hawk is one of the most common raptor fatalities associated with wind turbines (see Erickson et
al. 2001, 2002). The proposed Cape Vincent wind power project would increase exposure to
collision risk for rough-legged and red-tailed hawks, however impacts are not expected to be
greater than other eastern wind projects where raptor mortality has been relatively low (see
Kerns and Kerlinger 2004, Nicholson 2002, 2003, Koford et al. 2005, Arnett et al. 2005).

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