New research reveals that most seabirds fly near the sea surface, avoiding collision with wind turbines by flying under the blades
November 2013: Birds that fly higher above the sea are at greater risk of collision with wind turbines a new study, led by researchers at the British Trust for Ornithology, shows. Results show that many species, including puffins and Arctic terns, spend most of their time within five metres of the sea surface, and escaping the blades, while gulls fly more regularly at a more dangerous 20 metres above the sea surface. Therefore building offshore turbines higher above the sea surface, or installing fewer large turbines instead of several smaller turbines, could reduce the number of collisions say the BTO.
The project examined the importance of flight heights in determining the risk posed to seabirds from collision with offshore wind turbines. Innovative statistical techniques were used to combine data from over 30 sites and a detailed description of the proportion of birds that fly at different altitudes were produced for each species.