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Vliegbewegingen van vogels boven de Noordzee
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Flight activity of birds at a North Sea wind farm

Bureau Waardenburg has published a paper in Ibis on the flight activity of birds above the North Sea; the renowned journal of the British Ornithological Union. The paper is based on data collected during a radar study at the first Dutch offshore wind farm Offshore Windmolenpark Egmond aan Zee (OWEZ). 

Numbers and flight height

The authors describe the numbers and patterns of flying birds over this wind farm as well as the heights at which birds fly. A distinction is made between local seabirds (such as gulls and cormorants) and migrant species that pass through the area during their annual migrations (such as passerines).

In total, around 1.6 million birds pass through the wind farm at rotor-height (25-115 m) each year. The highest numbers were recorded during autumn migration. Birds were recorded at an altitude of up to 1.5 km with radar, however, most birds flew below 100 m. Weather, mostly wind, influenced the height and numbers of flying birds, as did time of day.

Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, for offshore wind farms

The results of this research form provide important contribution for assessments on the potential effects of future offshore wind farms on a variety of bird species. The data presented can be used in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for offshore wind farms.

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