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Minimizing Collision Risk Between Migrating Raptors and Marine Wind Farms: Development of a Spatial Planning Tool


An increased focus on renewable energy has led to the planning and construction of marine wind farms in Europe. Since several terrestrial studies indicate that raptors are especially susceptible to wind turbine related mortality, a Spatial Planning Tool is needed so that wind farms can be sited, in an optimal way, to minimize risk of collisions. Here we use measurements of body mass, wingspan and wing area of eight European raptor species, to calculate their Best Glide Ratio (BGR). The BGR was used to construct a linear equation, which, by the use of initial take-off altitude, could be used to calculate a Theoretical Maximum Distance (TMD) from the coast, attained by these soaring-gliding raptor species. If the nearest turbine, of future marine wind farms, is placed farther away from the coast than the estimated TMD, the collision risk between the turbine blades and these gliding raptors will be minimized. The tool was demonstrated in a case study at the Rødsand II wind farm in Denmark. Data on raptor migration altitude were gathered by radar. From the TMD attained by registered soaring-gliding raptors in the area, we concluded that the Rødsand II wind farm is not sited ideally, from an ornithological point of view, as potentially all three registered species are at risk of gliding through the area swept by the turbine rotor blades, and thereby at risk of colliding with the wind turbines.

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We would like to thank Johnny Kahlert, Thomas Kjær Christensen, Jørgen Olsen and Maria Mateos Rodriguez who all helped with the field work and Dong Energy for funding the data collection at Hyllekrog for another study. We would also like to thank Jane G. Baisner for graphical design.

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Correspondence to Anette Jægerfeldt Baisner.

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Baisner, A.J., Andersen, J.L., Findsen, A. et al. Minimizing Collision Risk Between Migrating Raptors and Marine Wind Farms: Development of a Spatial Planning Tool. Environmental Management 46, 801–808 (2010).

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  • Collision zone
  • Gliding equation
  • Migration
  • Hotspots
  • Risk window
  • Buteo buteo