BIRDMOVE – Bird migration and offshore wind

Project title: Bird migration across the open sea: methods, time and space pattern and conflicts with offshore energy utilisation (BIRDMOVE)


  • Impacts of wind farms on bird populations
  • Combining research methods
  • Evaluation criteria for bird-friendly wind farm


Kiel University
Research and Technology Centre, West Coast (FTZ)
Hafentörn 1, 25761 Büsum

Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe
Tel.: +49 4834 604-116



FKZ 3515 82 2100
Departmental research plan 2015
Term: 01.10.2015 – 31.12.2018

The aim of the project is to study the potential effects of offshore wind turbines on migratory birds and passage migrants.

In view of the major expansion of offshore wind farms in the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ), this project aims to explain unresolved questions about the impacts of offshore wind farms on bird populations.

A strong emphasis is placed on the quality of the data collected. Thanks to a range of technical advances, new measurement technology is now available, such as digital recording methods, miniature transmitters and automated receiving stations. On the other hand, existing processes have been significantly improved, for example the range and resolution of e.g. radar imaging processes. The project plans to use these innovations in combination for the first time in order to answer the various research questions.

The project will make detailed evaluations of the existing and all newly recorded data and analyse these using complex statistical models. Along with updating the available international literature, this will enable the (further) development of nature conservation evaluation criteria on the effects of offshore wind farms on the bird populations affected.

Work packages

Work packages

  1. Continuous project coordination
  2. Evaluating existing methods for recording bird migration across the sea
  3. Phenology of nocturnal bird migration in the North and Baltic Sea region
  4. Development of a network of stations for migrating terrestrial birds and evaluation of the data
  5. Telemetry of sea and coastal birds
  6. Measures for reducing collisions
  7. Conceptual design of evaluation, population importance and protection
  8. Population genetics of the common scoter
  9. Holding expert events

Project partners

Project partners

Project management

Kiel University
Research and Technology Centre, West Coast (FTZ)
Hafentörn 1, 25761 Büsum

Prof. Dr. Stefan Garthe
Tel.: +49 4834 604-116

Project partners

Institute of Avian Research "Ornithological Station Helgoland"
An der Vogelwarte 21, 26386 Wilhelmshaven

Dr. Ommo Hüppop
Tel.: +49 4421 9689-46


Avitec Research GbR
Sachsenring 11, 27711 Osterholz-Scharmbeck

Reinhold Hill
Tel.: +49 4795 9571530

Funding authority

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)
Vilm Office
FG II 5.2 Marine and coastal nature conservation
18581 Putbus/Rügen

Dr. Matthias Steitz
Tel.: +49 38301 86-208


Further publications

Further publications

Assessing potential conflicts between offshore wind farms and migration patterns of a threatened shorebird species, P. Schwemmer, R. Pederson, K. Haecker, P. Bocher, J. Fort, M. Mercker, F. Jiguet, J. Elts, R. Marja, M. Piha, P. Rousseau, S. Garthe, Animal Conservation (2022), https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12817

Michalik B, Brust V, Hüppop O (2020) Are movements of daytime and nighttime passerine migrants as different as day and night? Ecology and Evolution 00: 1-12, (https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6704)

Brust V, Michalik B, Hüppop O (2019) To cross or not to cross – thrushes at the German North Sea coast adapt flight and routing to wind conditions in autumn,  Movement Ecology 7:32 (https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-019-0173-5)

Brust V, Hüppop O (2018) Individuelle Zugentscheidungen von Singvögeln an der deutschen Nordseeküste Jber Inst Vogelforsch 13, 11

Brust V, Michalik B & Hüppop O (2018) Individuelle Flugwege kleiner Singvögel zur Zugzeit an der Deutschen Bucht. Vogelwarte 56, 367

Schmaljohann H, Brust V, Hüppop O (2018) Automatische Verfolgung kleiner Vögel - der technische Fortschritt hält Einzug in die Vogelzugforschung über der Nordsee, Nachr Marschenrat 55, 57-62

Davidson SC, Bohrer G, … Garthe S, … (147 authors) (2020): Ecological insights from three decades of animal movement tracking across a changing Arctic. Science 370: 712–715

Borrmann RM, Phillips RA, Clay T, Garthe S (2019): High foraging site fidelity and spatial segregation among individual great black-backed gulls. Journal of Avian Biology: e02156.

Schwemmer P, Enners L, Garthe S (2016): Migration routes of Eurasian Curlews (Numenius arquata) resting in the eastern Wadden Sea based on GPS telemetry. Journal of Ornithology 157: 901-905.

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