Bird surveys are required when developing offshore wind farms to avoid significant negative impact on birds and their migration routes. Utilitas Wind, a renewable energy company, partnered with Workboats Consulting to conduct 2-year bird studies for their Saare-Liivi offshore wind farm in the Gulf of Riga. In cooperation with Utilitas Wind, we formed a team of highly respected experts and scientists from BioConsult (Germany) and the Estonian Ornithological Society to conduct the bird observations.  

To conduct the surveys, a suitable vessel was needed.  However, it is challenging to charter a vessel for the exact time and short notice as the demand for offshore wind farm research vessels is currently high, and they are usually booked well in advance. Fortunately, our strong network of partners and excellent negotiation skills ensured that we secured the best possible research vessel for the Utilitas Wind offshore wind farm surveys. 

The project initially started with a contract for only one season of bird surveys in spring 2022. As the cooperation was smooth and professional, Utilitas Wind extended the contract for the entire bird survey period from summer 2022 to autumn 2023. In total, we completed during 2 following years of surveys almost 200 days of bird observations which is in accordance with the best practice and methodology described in international standards as well as in the Estonian Maritime Spatial Plan.  

Working offshore is difficult and influenced by sometimes difficult sea and weather conditions, so it is inevitable to be flexible and make decisions quickly. We constantly considered and assessed the weather conditions to obtain clear and accurate data on bird traffic trajectories and species in the area. We are glad to say that all the work was done, and the required bird survey days were completed. 

We started the work with Utilitas Wind with bird surveys and this has been the main activity during 2 past years. But during the work, we understood that there is a need for bottom surveys as well – for example, grab sampling and sub-bottom profiling. Those surveys could be carried out between the bird surveys as the vessel was already in our waters to save the client’s budget and gain valuable extra time in the development of the offshore wind farm. The grab sampling and the sub-bottom profiling surveys are necessary to provide initial information on the soil and the geophysical conditions in offshore wind farm areas. 

The research team making preparations for the bird surveys

Throughout the project, we maintained open communication with Utilitas Wind. We communicated all changes and deviations, ensuring transparency and avoiding surprises. Our previous experience and knowledge of the studies allowed us to accurately forecast the budget and time frame to carry out the surveys. This allowed us to provide Utilitas Wind with an accurate quotation without any deviations. 

At Workboats Consulting, we understand that success lies not only in delivering quality results but also in providing excellent support. We were available 24/7 to assist the vessel, crew, and ornithologists involved in the surveys. 

The field works are now finished, and the final bird survey report is currently in preparation. We are confident that the report will be comprehensive and insightful, thanks to the combined efforts of our expert team. 

Bird observation for Utilitas Wind offshore wind park was not just about conducting surveys; it was a testament to our commitment to excellence and collaboration. It was the second bird observation that we provided for Estonian offshore wind farm developers. We are proud of the work we accomplished and look forward to future partnerships that help to avoid negative impacts on our natural environment while promoting sustainable energy solutions. 

If you are in need of marine research and need strong and professional support, contact us at and we will find the right solution for you.