In 1999 a Danish demonstration programme concerning offshore wind farms was initiated. The aim was to evaluate environmental and technical aspects in relation to introducing these new structures at sea. Aarhus University was involved in ornithological investigations in that respect. Monitoring programmes for Horns Rev 1 and the Nysted offshore wind farms were initiated, and after the erection of the turbines post-construction monitoring programmes were initiated. Data from these investigations will be touched upon. At Nysted offshore wind farm common eiders (Somateria mollissima) avoided flying through the wind farm to a large extent and long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis) utilised the area of the wind farm significantly less after the appearance of the wind farm than before. At Horns Rev 1 it seemed that red-throated diver (Gavia stellata) avoided utilising the area of the wind farm and the near surroundings. Common scoters (Melanitta nigra) initially showed signs of avoidance, but in the spring of 2007 birds were seen in densities within the Horns Rev 1 wind farm that was equal to the densities found around the wind farm. Very recent findings from Horns Rev 2 indicate that this have to be re-considered. Later development at Rødsand 2 and Horns Rev 2 opens a discussion about the aspect of cumulative effects. These discussions involve also considerations about what the consequences are for displaced birds in an area. Modeled approaches are required to assess these issues. Monitoring of marine birds has switched from aerial surveys conducted by human observers to surveys using digital cameras. Aarhus University have developed a survey method using very high end airborne cameras and object-based semi-automated pattern recognition principles to extract birds from the images. This development will be shortly mentioned too.
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StUKplus Conference Five Years of Ecological Research at alpha ventus - Challenges, Results and Perspectives, 2013