A two-year study to monitor how effectively birds can avoid wind turbines will start off the coast of Aberdeen next week.
State-of-the-art radars and cameras have been fitted to turbines based in the offshore wind farm near Aberdeen.
They will monitor the flight patterns and responses of gannets, kittiwakes and large gulls flying close to the site.
Long-range pan-tilt cameras have been installed at the base of turbines and will collect 3D radar tracks as well as video footage of birds in the area.
Vattenfall is behind the research, which is believed to be the first of its kind.
Chris Jackson, senior environmental specialist at the energy firm, said: “Vattenfall is working with partners to research how seabirds interact with offshore wind farms as part of a €3m scientific programme at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.
“The EOWDC is proving a great location for this.
“Next week our latest research, announced in June, starts using cutting-edge radars and cameras to track the flights of kittiwakes, gannets and large gulls through and up to 3km from the wind farm.
“The research will address a knowledge gap and help the sustainable growth of the offshore wind industry in Europe, a sector vital for the shift to a fossil-free energy industry.”
Aly McCluskie, senior conservation scientist at the RSPB, said: “This research project will shed light on bird behaviour and collisions at offshore wind farms and the RSPB is pleased to be part of the expert steering group that advises it.
”The UK is currently undergoing an unprecedented expansion in offshore wind farm development, and while we welcome the urgent transition to renewable energy to tackle climate change, it is crucial that this should not be at the expense of our wildlife.”