Light-Induced Bird Strikes on Vessels in Southwest Greenland

Journal Article

Title: Light-Induced Bird Strikes on Vessels in Southwest Greenland
Publication Date:
November 01, 2011
Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin
Volume: 62
Issue: 11
Pages: 2330-2336
Publisher: Elsevier

Document Access

Website: External Link


Merkel, F.; Johansen, K. (2011). Light-Induced Bird Strikes on Vessels in Southwest Greenland. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62(11), 2330-2336.

Light-induced bird strikes are known to occur when vessels navigate during darkness in icy waters using powerful searchlight. In Southwest Greenland, which is important internationally for wintering seabirds, we collected reports of incidents of bird strikes over 2–3 winters (2006–2009) from navy vessels, cargo vessels and trawlers (total n= 19). Forty-one incidents were reported: mainly close to land (<4 km, 78%), but one as far offshore as 205 km. Up to 88 birds were reported killed in a single incident. All occurred between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m. and significantly more birds were involved when visibility was poor (snow) rather than moderate or good. Among five seabird species reported, the common eider (Somateria mollissima) accounted for 95% of the bird casualties. Based on spatial analyses of data on vessel traffic intensity and common eider density we are able to predict areas with high risk of bird strikes in Southwest Greenland.

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