Windplan Groen turbine shut down due to presence of Montagu’s Harrier pair with their young

A pair of Montagu’s Harriers selected one of the new wind farms that are part of Windplan Groen as a breeding site this year. As a result, the protocol of shutting down the wind turbine during the day in specific weather conditions entered into force.

The shutdown provision is one of the conditions in the granted construction permit for Windplan Groen and applies to nesting sites within 500 metres of a wind turbine. Three young have grown up from the nest. The young birds were recently ringed by Kenniscentrum Akkervogels, the knowledge Centre for Farmland Birds, and are now busy doing flight exercises and exploring the skies, Windplan Groen reported last week. Once the young birds and their parents leave the area, the shutdown facility can be discontinued.

Apart from wind turbine downtime, measures have been put in place to prevent ground predators from reaching these rare birds. Together with volunteers and with the cooperation of farmers, Kenniscentrum Akkervogels has been implementing this protection for many years, supported by a grant from Province of Flevoland.

The Montagu’s Harrier is a very rare (ground-breeding) bird of prey of arable areas in the Netherlands. Breeding occurs mainly in Groningen, but annually also one or a few pairs nest in Flevoland. This year it involved 2 pairs. The shutdown provision is accompanied by monitoring that will be evaluated after three years.

The Montagu’s Harrier migrates back to its wintering grounds in Africa from the end of August to the end of September. The birds return at the end of April and often return to the same area where they nested successfully in the previous year.

Windplan Groen is a large repowering project in the province of Flevoland that comprises 90 new wind turbines, of which 86 will be realised in the first phase. The total plan comprises around 500 MW of new installed capacity. Source image: Windplan Groen © Rob Dekker

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