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Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Reports

Formal report series, containing results of research and monitoring carried out by Marine Scotland Science


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

Other Access

The information on this page (the dataset metadata) is also available in these formats.


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Finding out the Fate of Displaced Birds

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 9 No 8
The Scottish Government has the duty to ensure that the development of the offshore renewable sector is achieved in a sustainable manner. A key challenge in delivering sustainable development is the potential effects of offshore renewable developments (ORDs) on populations of seabirds. Seabirds breed in internationally important numbers in Scotland, and many colonies are designated as Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive [2009/147/EC]. Offshore renewable developments may affect seabirds from collisions with turbine blades, displacement to less favourable habitats, barrier effects to the movement of birds, disturbance during construction and operation, contamination, noise and indirect effects via impact of developments on seabird prey. The aim of this project was to produce a tool to estimate the cost to individual seabirds, in terms of changes in adult survival and productivity, of displacement and barrier effects resulting from ORDs. The tool was developed for common guillemot, razorbill, Atlantic puffin, and black-legged kittiwake in the Forth/Tay region during the chick-rearing period. The tool has been constructed as a MATLAB Application (“SeabORD”) deployed with 'MATLAB Runtime', which is freely available, enabling users to use the tool without the need for MATLAB. The tool provides a user-friendly interface for setting up simulation runs and user-provided inputs, and for displaying model outputs. A guidance document and worked example are provided with the tool. The guidance document and the worked example are available as a separate download

K R Searle, D C Mobbs, A Butler, R W Furness, M N Trinder and F Daunt. 2018. Finding out the Fate of Displaced Birds. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 9 No 8, 149pp.

Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
English (United Kingdom)
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Data Dictionary

The tool uses a simulation model, which extends and improves that developed by Searle et al. (2014), to predict the time/energy budgets of breeding seabirds during the chick-rearing period, and translates these into projections of adult annual survival and productivity for each individual and at the population level. The model simulates foraging decisions of individual seabirds under the assumption that they are acting in accordance with optimal foraging theory, minimising time away from offspring whilst maximising energy gain. In the model, foraging behaviour of individual seabirds is driven by prey availability, travel costs, provisioning requirements for offspring, and at-sea density of conspecifics. The model estimates productivity and adult survival, the latter resulting from estimates of adult mass at the end of the breeding season. To determine ORD effects, baseline scenarios are compared with scenarios containing one or more ORDs.

Contact Name
Marine Directorate
Contact Email
Public Access Level