Finding out the Fate of Displaced Birds
Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 9 No 8
The Scottish Government has the duty to ensure that the development of the offshore renewable sector is achieved in a sustainable manner. A key challenge in delivering sustainable development is the potential effects of offshore renewable developments (ORDs) on populations of seabirds. Seabirds breed in internationally important numbers in Scotland, and many colonies are designated as Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive [2009/147/EC]. Offshore renewable developments may affect seabirds from collisions with turbine blades, displacement to less favourable habitats, barrier effects to the movement of birds, disturbance during construction and operation, contamination, noise and indirect effects via impact of developments on seabird prey. The aim of this project was to produce a tool to estimate the cost to individual seabirds, in terms of changes in adult survival and productivity, of displacement and barrier effects resulting from ORDs. The tool was developed for common guillemot, razorbill, Atlantic puffin, and black-legged kittiwake in the Forth/Tay region during the chick-rearing period. The tool has been constructed as a MATLAB Application (“SeabORD”) deployed with 'MATLAB Runtime', which is freely available, enabling users to use the tool without the need for MATLAB. The tool provides a user-friendly interface for setting up simulation runs and user-provided inputs, and for displaying model outputs. A guidance document and worked example are provided with the tool. The tool, guidance document and the worked example are available on the Scottish Government website.