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Scientists at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) have shown for the first time that migrating pink-footed geese learn to avoid wind turbines.

The study, using specialised remote radar monitoring, showed that over 97% of the geese avoided a wind farm by flying above or around them as they return to the UK from their winter breeding grounds. During a four-year study bird detection radar was used to monitor behavioural responses and flight changes of migrating pink-footed geese in relation to two offshore wind farms during and after construction. The mobile radar unit was positioned on the shoreline with an unobstructed view of the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms. The study began in 2007 during the construction phase of the two sites, when only turbine foundations were being erected. At this stage, the two wind farm sites did not pose any obstruction to migrating geese, and although there were several boats operating within the study area, the level of disturbance to migrating geese was low. The study continued in 2008–2010 when the wind farm sites were fully operational. Monitoring was carried out from September to November each year to coincide with the peak autumnal migration period of the geese. The radar was operational 24 hours a day, and two ornithologists from Fera made visual observations during peak daylight hours to validate the radar recordings.
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