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Migrating geese have successfully adapted to offshore wind farms

10/08/12

A study investigating the migration of pink-footed geese shows that they have been avoiding new offshore wind farms when returning to the UK. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, reports findings that geese are able to successfully identify wind farms and alter their specific course to avoid harm. The research monitored the change of the bird’s flight path around 2 newly erected wind farms over a four year period, using radar technology. The change in flight path from initial construction to fully operational was investigated. The study found that this species of geese identified wind farms as a threat and altered their flight path to avoid turbine blades. The study was begun in 2007 and by the time one of the wind farms had been constructed in 2010 the percentage of birds that flew around the wind farm area increased from 52% to 81%. Furthermore, 90% of the birds that flew through the wind farm area altered their path to climb over the wind turbines. The study was optimistic in its conclusion, stating evidence that some species of wildlife will be able to adapt to alternative energy developments.