Collision hotspots for migrating birds revealed in new study - University of East Anglia

New research led by the UEA highlights the areas in Europe and North Africa where the construction of wind turbines or power lines is likely to increase the risk of death for migrating birds.

The study used GPS location data from 65 bird tracking studies to understand where they fly more frequently at danger height – defined as 10-60 metres above ground for power lines and 15-135 metres for wind turbines. This allowed the team to identify the areas where these birds would be more sensitive to onshore wind turbine or power line development.

Resulting vulnerability maps reveal that the collision hotspots are particularly concentrated within important migration routes, along coastlines and near breeding locations. These include the Western Mediterranean coast of France, Southern Spain and the Moroccan Coast - such as around the Strait of Gibraltar - Eastern Romania, the Sinai Peninsula and the Baltic coast of Germany.

The GPS data collected related to 1,454 birds from 27 species, mostly large soaring ones such as white storks. Exposure to risk varied across the species, with the Eurasian spoonbill, European eagle owl, whooper swan, Iberian imperial eagle and white stork among those flying consistently at heights where they risk collision.

The study, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, involved an international team of researchers from 15 countries and organisations including the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the RSPB in the UK.

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Posted On: 12/04/2022

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