Strategic Ornithological Support Services (SOSS)

Providing ornithological advice to inform decision-making for offshore wind

Marine wind farm

The Strategic Ornithological Support Services group brought together expert stakeholders to identify key ornithological issues relating to the expansion of the UK offshore wind industry, due to the potential for offshore wind farms to impact bird populations. A steering group, comprising representatives of developers, regulators and advisory bodies, oversaw a program of work to address these issues and inform the planning and consenting process. The key aim was to reduce the consenting risk posed by current critical gaps in knowledge of the effects of offshore wind farms on birds. To find out more about SOSS, read the Terms of Reference (PDF, 107.07 KB) , or soss-secretariat [at] (contact us) with specific queries.

Areas of work were as follows:

  • Improving understanding of how different species are displaced from an area following the construction of an offshore wind farm.
  • Providing guidance on the methods used to estimate the risk of bird collisions with offshore wind farms.
  • Developing methods to monitor collisions of birds with offshore wind turbines.
  • Developing population viability analysis (PVA) techniques to assess the cumulative risk to key bird populations from all existing and planned offshore wind farms.
  • Developing recommendations for the assessment of risk to migrant bird species, and identifying key gaps in knowledge.

 More information about SOSS work, including project reports and other outputs, can be found on the projects page.


Further priority research required to address remaining gaps in knowledge was identified by the SOSS steering group. Download a summary of their recommendations here:

Offshore wind and birds: how can key gaps in knowledge be addressed? (PDF, 285.9 KB)

One high priority project to monitor collisions and avoidance offshore is being taken forward by a joint industry partnership. Read about the SOSS steering group's recommendations for this study here:

Recommendations for work on collision and avoidance rates (PDF, 201.6 KB)