NREL Model Can Predict Golden Eagle Behavior Around Wind Turbines

April 22, 2022

Golden eagles will often find updrafts to assist their flight, letting them soar to greater heights without working too hard. However, those upward-moving gusts of wind are also gold for wind turbines.

The Stochastic Soaring Raptor Simulator, developed at NREL with support from WETO, can predict the likely long-distance flight paths of individual golden eagles (and other raptors) as they ride updrafts through the air. The model, which is publicly accessible on GitHub, will use a site's particular details to simulate long-distance movement of golden eagles, including migration.

"A golden eagle's goal to minimize its energy expenditure will affect its decision making. The model uses that principle to generate a map of probable paths the eagle might take," said Rimple Sandhu, a postdoctoral researcher at NREL and the lead author on the article published in Ecological Modelling.

Read more about the Stochastic Soaring Raptor Simulator and eagles and wind energy.