CARCASS DETECTABILITY BY CANINE SEARCH TEAMS ON A WINDFARM IN CALIFORNIA.
|Murrelet D Halterman; Great Basin Bird Observatory; firstname.lastname@example.org; John D. Boone, Jeff P. Smith|
Between October 2018 and September 2021, canine search teams surveyed 20 plots (115-meter radius) centered on turbines at a wind farm in California. The canines were trained to locate and alert handlers to the presence of avian and bat fatalities. Half of the plots were surveyed every 7 days, and half were surveyed every 28 days. In order to calibrate fatality estimates, and to monitor the abilities of the canines, we placed bird and bat carcasses on the plots before they were surveyed. A total of 717 carcasses were placed over the three years, with nearly equal numbers of bats, small birds, and medium/large birds. Nearly equal numbers were placed on 7- and 28-day survey plots. Canines found 45% of bats, 51% of small birds, 78% of medium birds, and 93% of large birds. Canines found a higher percentage of all types of trial carcasses on 7-day plots than 28-day plots. The biggest differences were for bats (60% on 7-day vs. 31% on 28-day) and small birds (62% on 7-day vs. 39% on 28-day). Canines found a higher percentage of bats (31% vs. 6%) and small birds (39% vs. 13%) trial carcasses than human searchers on comparable 28-day plots.