Northern gannets (Morus bassanus) have been ranked as one of the most vulnerable species in terms of collision with offshore wind farm (OWF) turbines, and strong avoidance of OWFs has been documented for this species. Gannets increasingly encounter OWFs within the ranges of their largest breeding colonies along the European coasts. However, information on their actual reactions to OWFs during the breeding season is lacking. We investigated the possible effects of OWFs located 23–35 km north of the colony on Helgoland in the southern North Sea on breeding gannets. GPS tags were applied to 28 adult gannets breeding on Helgoland for several weeks over 2 years. Most gannets (89%) predominantly avoided the OWFs in both years, but 11% frequently entered them when foraging or commuting between the colony and foraging areas. Flight heights inside the OWFs were close to the rotor-blade zone, especially for individuals predominantly avoiding the OWFs. Gannets preferred distances of 250–450 m to the turbines when being inside the OWF. A point process modelling approach revealed that the gannets resource selection of the OWF area compared with the surroundings (outside OWF = up to 15 km from the OWF border) was reduced by 21% in 2015 and 37% in 2016. This study provides the first detailed characterisation of individual reactions of gannets to OWFs during the breeding season and one of the first comprehensive studies of OWF effects on this species based on telemetry data. The documented effects need to be considered during the planning processes for future OWFs, especially those located close to large seabird breeding colonies.