Birds & Bats Unlimited

moc.detimilnu-stab-dna-sdribobfsctd@ofni
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RESEARCH & INNOVATION

At Birds & Bats Unlimited we believe in solutions and much of our work aims to find ways to mitigate impacts of development.

Research on eagle mortalities at an operational wind farm

Martial Eagle killed at Jeffreys Bay wind farm

Research on eagle mortalities at an operational wind farm in South Africa

As more wind farms come online in South Africa (37 in 2024), so more raptors and bats will interact with operational turbines. But how do birds behave around these farms: (i) do they avoid them? (ii) do they avoid breeding there? and (iii) do they take evasive action around turbines?

Our 3-years research of live birds at Globeleq’s Jeffreys Bay wind farm indicated that raptors do not avoid entering the wind farm and frequently breed within the wind farms – but they do so at their peril. Few nests of Black Harriers or the Martial Eagle pair were successful and during breeding 5 adult Black Harriers were killed over 3 years. Direct observations of a Martial Eagle impacting a blade in 2016 indicated that the subadult bird took no evasive action as it flew slowly towards a spinning blade. The full description, reasons and implications of this are explored here https://doi.org/10.2989/00306525.2024.2325673
We are now following GPS-tagged harriers around this and other wind farms to determine fine scale movements and mitigations.