The White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster is listed under provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) for migratory species. The species has a world distribution from western India through south-east Asia to southern Australia. In Australia it is distributed around the coastline of most of Australia, including Tasmania and near-shore islands (Marchant and Higgins 1993). It also inhabits some larger river systems and large permanent inland waterbodies, such as major water-storage impoundments. The species' range includes a number of currently operating constructed wind power generation facilities (wind farms) and more facilities that are proposed.
Wind farms may pose a risk of collision to the White-bellied Sea-eagle since mortalities of various eagle species are known from wind farms in a variety of situations worldwide and large raptors have already been recorded as casualties of collision with turbines in Australia. The present project is specifically aimed at determining the cumulative risks posed by collision of sea-eagles with wind turbines. A variety of associated impacts of wind farm developments may affect bird populations. They include direct loss of habitat due to constructed facilities and roads; alienation of habitat caused by disturbance during construction and on-going operation; and potential for electrocution and collisions with overhead distribution lines. These latter impacts are not addressed as part of the present project.
The essential aim of the current project is to predict, the potential cumulative impacts of collision risk posed by wind farms across the range of the species' distribution. The project utilises bird collision risk modelling to generate assessments of the cumulative risk to the White-bellied Sea-eagle posed by such collisions.