Wind turbines and birds 

Ascend Solutions for Wind Energy Industry

Pre and post-construction bird activity mapping

Bird monitoring in real time

Manual registration of birds

Ascend solution enables to carry out studies that improve understanding of bird population sizes and trends, including their migration systems and population dynamics. With this solution we can identify site-specific wind turbine locations that will give the least possible impact on birds. Furthermore, we enable you to carry out post-construction studies of bird-displacement effects in terms of rate and distance and possible behavioural adaptations to wind farms over time.

The radar solution enables real-time monitoring of bird migration in wind farm surroundings as well as direct integration with the individual wind turbines.

Wildlife registration used to be complex, time consuming and often missing important data. With the AscendXYZ Wildlife Registration Solution the process becomes quick, easy, and flexible. With our solution you can register wildlife with just a few touches on a tablet or smartphone – on site, with a direct view of the situation and minimal risk of forgetting or overlooking important points.

Build on top

Ascend can provide The Ascend Geospatial Platform (AGP) where the real-time and historical bird tracks are available via API’s. This allows you to build custom solutions on top of the AGP.

Use as is

Use the Ascend Data Analysis Solution (ADAS) to analyse the radar data and create the radar data foundation for your environmental studies. This allows you to create reports and dokumentation.

Technological solutions to reduce the environmental impact

Birds are an important concern to both offshore and onshore wind parks since they often affect the position and number of wind turbines to be built. The impact on bird communities and individuals can be divided into two categories: displacement from the wind-farm area and the risk of collision with wind turbines. These two distinct effects may involve breeding birds or migrating and resting birds in a wind-farm area. There are numerous examples of potential effects on bird displacement leading to the cancellation of planned offshore wind-farm construction, such as the UK Docking Shoal wind farm. Recently in Denmark, a site at Sejerø Bay was removed from nearshore tendering because of impacts on sea ducks.

For several birds of prey and other large bird species collisions with wind turbines can have the most significant impact and a threat to population stability. Known examples include the impacts on red kite populations in Brandenburg (Germany) and the white-tailed eagle in the Norwegian municipality of Smøla. Despite substantial efforts in recent decades to improve the scientific basis for analysing the bird-population status and the effects of collision and displacement, important knowledge gaps still exist. Unfortunately, it leads to excessive reliance on the precautionary principle when evaluating the effects of wind-farm projects on birds, in this case, leading to highly conservative assessments due to lack of data. 

A significant challenge is that various bird species respond differently to wind farms. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Therefore, knowledge building should concentrate on conflicts with species of primary concern. Additionally, developments in recent decades in turbine sizes, inter-array spacing, and noise mitigation possibly cause birds to perceive a modern wind farm with large turbines differently from an older wind farm with smaller turbines and very different spacing. Consequently, knowledge of bird behaviour must be understood as being partially dynamic, changing with the overall development of the turbine and wind-farm size.

Displacement of birds from wind farms

To minimize the investments, offshore and nearshore wind farms quite often are built in shallow waters. In some cases, these areas can be essential feeding grounds for particular water birds. Consequently, it may lead to bird displacement, which is considered the most significant bird-related issue concerning offshore and nearshore wind farms in northern Europe. In this context, displacement means that the effect of human activity and the physical presence of a wind farm in an area may lead to birds leaving the area. Consequently, the displaced birds will move to other areas, where bird density and competition for food may increase, which can ultimately lead to decreased survival or reproduction of the affected individuals.

For onshore wind farms, bird displacement is not commonly a pressing issue. Today, bird displacement from offshore and onshore projects is well documented in only a few studies and for a low number of species. However, as the number of wind farms increases and their operational years expand, better documentation will become available with variations in location, type of habitat, and possible species adaptation to wind farms. It will help qualify the evaluation and decrease dependence on the precautionary principle.

The effect on mortality and reproductive success, caused by a higher concentration of displaced birds, is based on unproven assumptions. It is important to note that this factor has a major influence on the result of the assessment. To illustrate, in Danish nearshore wind-farm projects, the assessment of the lethal effects of displacement on the common scoter was based on a reference study of variations of oystercatcher (in Danish: strandskade) winter mortality related to the density of birds on mudflats in England. Species-specific knowledge of density-dependent mortality will undoubtedly lead to more precise evaluations of the effects of displacement.

Get Started!

It really is that easy! Since we are offering you a service, you can leave it to us to handle maintenance and insurance while you focus on the result.

Tell us which service level you need. Then we will help you identify the best location for the radar as well as deliver and install the system for you.

The user-friendly data will be available to you soon after, and you will be able to act on the results right away.

Other Ascend services and products