Over the past decade and a half, raptors nesting in prairie ecosystems have been subject to sharp increases in nearby energy development activity. From 2000 to 2006, the number of oil wells in Wyoming increased by 73 percent, and the number of natural gas wells by 318 percent. The management of avian species that depend on sage-steppe ecosystems is an important emerging issue across the western United States, in part due to this increased energy development.
In 2012, Station scientists and their collaborators initiated an integrated study on how ferruginous hawks respond to energy development. Airplanes and helicopters were used to survey for nesting ferruginous hawks in 100 townships randomly distributed across the Wyoming’s prairies. Surveys reflect a population of 1,894 nesting pairs of ferruginous hawks.
See the full Science Spotlight here: Response of nesting ferruginous hawks to energy development
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