Seabird Avoidance and Attraction at an Offshore Wind Farm in the Belgian Part of the North Sea

Journal Article

Title: Seabird Avoidance and Attraction at an Offshore Wind Farm in the Belgian Part of the North Sea
Publication Date:
September 01, 2015
Journal: Hydrobiologia
Volume: 756
Issue: 1
Pages: 51-61
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
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Citation

Vanermen, N.; Onkelinx, T.; Courtens, W.; Van de walle, M.; Verstraete, H.; Stienen, E. (2015). Seabird Avoidance and Attraction at an Offshore Wind Farm in the Belgian Part of the North Sea. Hydrobiologia, 756(1), 51-61.
Abstract: 

Through before–after control-impact designed ship-based seabird surveys, seabird displacement occurring after the installation of an offshore wind farm at the Belgian Bligh Bank in 2010 was studied. Results demonstrate that northern gannet (Morus bassanus), common guillemot (Uria aalge) and razorbill (Alca torda) avoided the wind farm area, and decreased in abundance with 85, 71 and 64%, respectively. Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) and herring gull (Larus argentatus) were attracted to the wind farm, and their numbers increased by a factor 5.3 and 9.5. Other gull species too were found to frequent the turbine-built area, most notably common gull (Larus canus), black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) and great black-backed gull (Larus marinus). The ecological incentives behind the observed attraction effects are still poorly understood, but on top of the increase in roosting possibilities it is plausible that offshore wind farms offer enhanced feeding opportunities. Importantly, attraction of seabirds to offshore wind farms implies an increased collision risk.

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