This article discusses the impact offshore wind turbines are having on sea birds. The risk of seabirds colliding with offshore wind turbines is less than half what was previously thought, according to a landmark new report. The findings come from the most comprehensive investigation into the impacts of offshore wind farms on seabird behaviour ever carried out. The research suggests seabirds will actively avoid turbines and in most cases will not crash into them.
The multi-million-pound Bird Collision Avoidance Study is the first of its kind to employ a multi-sensor monitoring system, combining human observers with a system that automatically captured seabird movements at a working offshore wind farm in the Channel.
Radars were also used to log data 24 hours a day for two years. Analysis of more than 600,000 videos recorded during the study revealed only six seabirds hit turbines during 12,131 flights in the vicinity of the wind farm, none of which occurred at night.
The report was commissioned by the Offshore Renewables Joint Industry Programme (ORJIP), which is made up of developers, the Crown Estate, Crown Estate Scotland and Marine Scotland, with funding from the UK government. The study was developed and run with support from ornithologists and environmental advisors.