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Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development

Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development

Additional Info

  • Date November 2011
  • Client BirdLife International
  • Location Rift Valley/Red Sea Area
  • Published in


The Soaring Bird Sensitivity Map tool has been designed to provide developers, planning authorities and other interested stakeholders access to information on the distribution of soaring bird species along the Rift Valley / Red Sea flyway. This information can help to inform decisions on the safe siting of new developments, such as wind farms, ensuring that negative impacts on this important migration route are minimised.

Click here to access the Sensitivity Map Tool.


The generalized development of wind farms is associated with potential negative impacts on birds and their habitats. Such impacts vary significantly among locations, as they depend on e.g. local bird communities, topography and prevailing weather. Consequently, the implementation of strategic environmental assessment of potential installation sites is essential to assure the reconciliation of wind energy projects with bird conservation. Sensitivity maps are one of the most useful tools helping the location of wind farm developments in areas that are compatible with nature conservation requirements, as they identify areas of ‘unknown or no risk’ as well as areas of “potential risk” for species of conservation concern.

The Rift Valley and Red Sea flyway is the second most important flyway worldwide concerning migratory soaring birds, a group that is particularly vulnerable to negative impacts from wind turbines and associated power lines. The region is also one of the most productive in the world in terms of wind energy resource and there are several projects planned for the area.

STRIX developed a methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory soaring birds to wind energy development for this flyway. This involved i) a thorough review of all published information on sensitivity mapping; ii) the identification of a list of key experts; iii) the compilation and review of all available information on migration of soaring birds for the targeted region; and iv) the development of a sensitivity mapping methodology adapted to the peculiarities of the species and areas involved.


This project was a basis for BirdLife’s Migratory Soaring Birds Project sensitivity mapping tool.


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