Assessing potential conflicts between offshore wind farms and migration patterns of a threatened shorebird species

Installation of offshore wind farms (OWFs) is becoming increasingly important to
ensure a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions; however, OWFs also pose a threat
to migrating birds and other wildlife. Informed marine spatial planning is therefore
crucial, but individual-based high-resolution data on bird migration across the sea
are currently lacking. We equipped 51 individuals of the near threatened Eurasian
curlew Numenius arquata with GPS tags (118 fl ight tracks) across multiple years
and countries to assess their four-dimensional migration routes across the Baltic
Sea (i.e. fl ight tracks, altitudes, phenology and diurnal patterns), to inform
collision-risk models and assess potential con fl icts with current and future OWFs.
Despite a broad-front migration, we identi fi ed core migration areas in the
south-western Baltic Sea (and adjacent mainland), largely overlapping with already
operating OWFs. Generalized linear models based on a resampling procedure to
overcome autocorrelation of tracking data showed that fl ight altitudes across the
sea and during autumn (median: 60 m) were signi fi cantly lower than those across
land (median: 335 m) and during spring (median across sea: 150; median across
land: 576 m).


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