New research by scientists in Cork has found that Irish bird populations decrease in the areas immediately adjacent to wind turbines.

The study found that the main reason appears to be the clearing of habitats during the construction of the wind farms.

The researchers say how birds use upland habitats could be impacted into the future as the number of wind turbines increases.

The study was led by Dr Darío Fernández-Bellon of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork.

great tit

Forest species like Chaffinches, Great tits or Goldcrests are the most affected as commercial plantation forests are cleared to make way for turbines and wind farm tracks," said Dr Fernández-Bellon.

"Most people are familiar with the problem of bird collisions with wind turbine blades, but this study highlights how indirect effects, such as the alteration of habitats, can also be important."

"Our study shows that wind farms have different effects on different bird species depending on the habitats they use and how these habitats are affected by wind farm development," said Dr Fernández-Bellon.

"Although all of the birds considered in this study were relatively common and widespread, impacts on these species should not be dismissed."

Read the full article here 

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