Offshore wind partnership report identifies ornithological knowledge needs - JNCC

A Manx shearwater bird taking off from water, flapping it's wings
Manx shearwater (Lewis Thomson)

The Offshore Wind Strategic Monitoring and Research Forum (OWSMRF) has published a new report on high-priority ornithological knowledge gaps and the research needed to inform the sustainable development of offshore wind energy.

JNCC Report No. 719 (Towards better estimates of Manx shearwater and European storm-petrel population abundance and trends, demographic rates and at-sea distribution and behaviour) focuses on Manx shearwaters and European storm-petrels, and builds on earlier work by the OWSMRF around black-legged kittiwakes.

OWSMRF is led by seven offshore wind developers (EDF Renewables UK, Equinor, Ørsted, RWE, ScottishPower Renewables, SSE Renewables and Shell) and is delivered by JNCC.

The Forum has collaborated with nature conservation agencies, NGOs, scientific experts and regulators to identify priority needs for improving understanding of the impact of offshore wind farms on marine birds. Following the successful completion of the Forum's Pilot Year in 2021, which focussed on the black-legged kittiwake, the group has taken a closer look at a set of less well-known species – Manx shearwaters and storm-petrels.

Shearwaters and petrels reproduce in significant numbers on several UK islands, often at remote locations. Related to albatrosses, they can travel large distances for food, and during the breeding season they only leave and return to their colonies at dawn and dusk. This makes them difficult to study and, compared to other species, very little is known about their use of the marine environment, how their populations are faring and how they interact with offshore wind farms.

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Posted On: 01/08/2022

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