Survey theme: Birds
Also referred to as ornithology, which is the study of birds
Bird surveys are often a key component of the survey programme for any offshore development. For most offshore wind farms, bird surveys are carried out before, during and after construction to inform turbine layout and design, species protection plans and potential mitigation methods. Likewise, for marine aggregate extraction activities, at-sea baseline and post-consent surveys may be required.
For an offshore wind farm, detailed knowledge of bird distribution and flight activity is needed over a large area and covering a variety of seasons. This data can be collected by boat based surveys or aerial surveys using a small aircraft; occasionally land-based surveys are also used.
The MDE currently holds a significant amount of pre-construction survey data, but as more projects become operational, the post-construction data resource continues to grow. Having survey data from across all phases of the project provides useful insights into observed effects compared to what was predicted during the planning and impact assessment phase.