Smart cameras to stop sea eagles flying into wind turbines


The owners of a massive wind farm in Zeewolde are installing smart cameras on turbines to monitor the arrival of white-tailed eagles – so that the equipment can be turned off. 

This season, the 23 breeding pairs of white-tailed eagles in the Netherlands produced 45 young, and some nested in the nearby Oostvaardersplassen. The birds have a wing span of up to 2.45 metres

Director Sjoerd Sieburgh Sjoerdsma told RTL Nieuws the cameras can recognise something is approaching them at a distance of up to 1,100 metres. “The system will then analyse what it is and, at 300 metres, a decision will be taken whether or not to halt the blades,” he said. 

Dirk van Straalen of the Sea Eagle Working Group Netherlands has welcomed the wind farm’s plans. “This is an important step in the protection of sea eagles in this region and sets a good example for other wind farms.”

In February 2022, nature journal Nature Today reported that three eagles had so far been killed in the Netherlands as the result of a collision with a wind turbine, and one was hit by a train.

The Zeewolde wind farm has 83 giant turbines and the system will be fully operational in mid 2024.

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