To analyse habitat use of red kite (Milvus milvus), behavioural observations, vantage point counts and telemetric monitoring were carried out in five wind farms in Saxony-Anhalt between 2007 and 2010. Home ranges were remarkably large, showing clear individual differences but no significant differences in home range size between genders. Nests formed the centres of activity of the home ranges, both during and after the breeding season. 54% of all activities were recorded within a distance of 1,000 m from the nest. Spatial overlaps between kernel home ranges and wind farm areas were common and depended on distance between wind turbines and nest. Between sunrise and sunset, red kites spent 25% of the time in flight covering a mean distance of 90.1 km. When birds visited wind farms, about 47% of the flights occurred within the height band of between 25 and 150 m. Use of areas within or outside wind farms depended on the cultivated crop or the stage of cultivation. All crops including alfalfa were most attractive shortly after harvesting or ploughing. Only few foraging areas are available in spring and early summer and the birds concentrated their foraging activity on a few clearly visible crop areas as well as edge structures including fallows around turbine bases and access routes to wind turbines. The following measures may minimise conflicts: (1) observance of a distance of at least 1,250 m between wind turbines and red kite nests, (2) avoidance of attractive areas within wind farms (3) no mowing or harvesting activities within wind farms before mid-July.
This is a chapter in the book Birds of Prey and Wind Farms