Report Suggests Seabirds Exposed to Low Risk of Collision in Offshore Wind Farms


According to a report prepared by RPS and DHI for Vattenfall, seabirds typically avoid contact with wind turbines and offshore wind farm structures.

The main aim of the EOWDC Bird Collision Avoidance Study was to improve understanding of seabird flight behavior inside an offshore wind farm. This was achieved through the collection of actual seabird flight data rather than through estimation of avoidance rates for collision risk modeling. The focus is on seabird flight behavior during the breeding period and post-breeding period when densities are highest in the Aberdeen, Scotland, area.

The technical improvements of the monitoring equipment employed in the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm made it possible to track seabirds inside the array and measure meso-avoidance more confidently than before. It has been possible to match video camera recordings of seabird movements to a sample of their radar tracks.

A total of 1,753 coupled tracks were recorded during 2020 and 1,370 tracks during 2021, which was beyond expectations and formed the basis for robust assessments of flight behaviors of target species in different parts of the wind farm array. 

Together with the recorded high levels of micro-avoidance in all target species (> 0.96), it is now evident that seabirds will be exposed to very low risks of collision in offshore wind farms during daylight hours.

This was also substantiated by the fact that no collisions or even narrow escapes were recorded in over 10,000 bird videos during the two years of monitoring covering the April to October period.

The full report is available here.

Photo by the Bialons on Unsplash

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