Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) avoids wind farm near Cape Kaliakra in Bulgaria

A Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) moving north was observed by a BSPB field team on 09.02.2012 within Kaliakra SPA (BG0002051). The second-year bird was coming from the south, flying about 20 meters over the ground and approaching the first wind turbine, sharply changed its flight direction towards east in order to avoid the wind farm.

As it is well known, the wind turbines, besides ability to kill birds, have also the so called ‘barrier effect’. It is expressed in stopping birds to use their preferable natural and most suitable flight areas with all the consequences from this. There are all reasons to believe that the barrier effect is particularly prominent in areas with high density of turbines, which is the case with the Bulgarian part of Dobrudzha.

“This record is the first registered in Bulgaria evidence of barrier effect on the Globally Endangered Saker Falcon”, said Dr. Petar Iankov, one of the experts of the international Life+ Project “Conservation of the Saker Falcon in North-Eastern Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia” (LIFE09NAT-HU-000384). Such effect was observed in Hungary within the special research of MME/BirdLife Hungary, one of the Partners of the Project. Under worse weather conditions with strong wind or bad visibility similar cases can lead to the death of birds, as it is well known that the Saker Falcon’s preferable flight altitudes are the same as the height of the rotors of the wind turbines.

The same day another BSPB team observed a second Saker Falcon flying north over Batova SPA (BG0002082). The two records can be an indication of the start of the spring move of the Sakers towards their breeding grounds, as they usually arrive there as early as the end of February.

Kaliakra (Photo: Petar Iankov - BSPB)

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