Bird migration across North Sea and Baltic Sea: Migratory patterns and possible impacts of offshore wind farms (TRACKBIRD)

 

Funding:

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

Contacts:

Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe, Dr. Philipp Schwemmer, Dr. Ulrike Kubetzki

Project term:

July 2019 to June 2022

Project partners:

Institute of Avian Research 'Vogelwarte Helgoland'

Project outline:

In cooperation with the Institute of Avian Research „Vogelwarte Helgoland“, 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 (North Sea, Baltic Sea) are recorded by using modern telemetry systems. The collected data improve the assessment of potential wind farm effects such as 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.

Within this project the FTZ concentrates its efforts on the telemetry of waterbirds and larger landbirds. 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 may occur during foraging, during resting periods and on their migrations. 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.

After the successful completion of the project BIRDMOVE (2015-2019), the main goals within the project TRACKBIRD are further and deeper analyses of potential effects of offshore windfarms on migrating birds. Additionally, the spatial focus will be on the Baltic Sea. The development of offshore wind farms in the German EEZ (Exclusive Economical Zone) provides the opportunity to work on open questions relating the species-specific reactions of birds as well as assessing cumulative effects of multiple windfarms on birds using a set of complementary methods. In particular, this will be possible by technical progresses that include further developments in tag miniaturization. Already existing and newly recorded data will be compiled and analysed using complex statistical models. In combination with the review of international literature, this will enable (further) development of assessment criteria of the effects of offshore windfarms on affected bird populations for nature conservation.