Bird migration over the open sea: methods, space-time patterns and conflicts with offshore wind farms (BIRDMOVE)


Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe, Dr. Philipp Schwemmer

Project term:

November 2015 to June 2019

Project partners:

Institute of Avian Research 'Vogelwarte Helgoland'

Avitec Research GbR Katrin und Reinhold Hill

Project outline:

In cooperation with the Institute of Avian Research „Vogelwarte Helgoland“ and Avitec Research, the Research and Technology Centre (FTZ, Kiel University) investigates the potential impact of offshore wind farms on migratory birds. Movement patterns of individual birds in German marine regions are recorded over longer periods of time by using modern telemetry systems. The collected data improves the assessment of collision risks, barrier or attraction effects and potential habitat loss. Additionally, further evaluation criteria for these effects can be derived and applied in nature conservation.

The part of the project that is handled by the FTZ comprises the telemetry of coastal birds and seabirds. For this study, species are selected that can be found in high numbers of individuals in German marine areas. Their populations are at risk: conflicts with offshore wind turbines can rise during foraging, during resting periods and on migratory routes. To determine individual movement patterns, GPS data loggers with GSM-function and high spatial and temporal resolution will be utilized. With these data, a detailed evaluation of species-specific interactions with offshore wind turbines can be made and thus, improved recommendations for resolving potential conflicts can be given.