WELNEY: Migrating swans don radio transmitters to see if wind farm threaten their safety

MIGRATING swans will be flying to their summer homes wearing radio transmitters to find out whether wind farms pose a threat to them.Scientists from the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, at Welney, are fitting 50 of the birds with tracking devices in what is b

MIGRATING swans will be flying to their summer homes wearing radio transmitters to find out whether wind farms pose a threat to them.

Scientists from the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, at Welney, are fitting 50 of the birds with tracking devices in what is believed to be the biggest experiment of its kind.

The technology will enable the birds' progress to be monitored online, as they make their way from their wintering grounds in Fenland to Iceland.

The research is being carried out for COWRIE - Collaborative Offshore Wind Research into the Environment - a registered charity, which aims to improve understanding of the potential environmental impacts and benefits of offshore wind farms.


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Its aim is to find out the migration routes, the heights and speeds at which the whooper swans fly, and the effects of weather conditions on the swans' flight patterns.

This data will then be analysed in relation to existing offshore wind farms positioned in the Greater Wash and East Irish Sea areas, as well as potential wind farm sites.

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Primary schools around Welney have adopted three of the birds.

Snow Cloud was named by the children from Clackclose Primary School of Downham Market, William Marshall School of Welney have named theirs Sky after their favourite film character Luke Skywalker and Emneth Primary School have called theirs Edmund after the church in Emneth and the character from Thomas the Tank Engine.

So far only Sky has started his migration from Welney and is currently in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Snow Cloud and Edmund are yet to take off.

To follow the birds' journeys, go to http://whooper.wwt.org.uk/whooper

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