N.B.  Users will need to use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer web browsers to use the online mapping tool available on the NBDC website.


Guidance Document

Executive Summary

Layer Package (ITM)

Layer Package (ING)

REST Service Endpoint



Curlew (photo: John Fox).Upland breeding waders, such as Curlews, have experienced major declines in distribution in the past 40 years. 

Black-tailed Godwits in flight (Photo: Oran O'Sullivan). It may not only be collision that affects bird populations.Disturbance displacement, habitat loss and barrier effects have been shown to impact bird populations just as much as collision mortality.



Cahore Windfarm, Co. Wexford (Photo: Oran O'Sullivan). Planned correctly and taking heed of our Birds and Habitats Directives obligations, renewable energies such as wind have the potential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.


Hen Harrier (photo: Shay Connolly). Though highly protected and charismatic, the Hen Harrier remains threatened in Ireland. Better planning for wind farm installations can reduced the direct effects on this species (through collision and habitat loss) and indirect effects on prey abundance.


BirdWatch Ireland are in favour of a mix of renewable energy sources, including wind power, being adopted in Ireland as a means of reducing our dependence on carbon-emitting energy sources.




Ireland has an extensive network of protected areas, established through national and EU law, for the protection of wildlife (including birds) and habitats.  BirdWatch Ireland has a long history of ensuring Ireland fulfils its obligations to afford adequate protection to wild birds. There is an important legal requirement (under Articlle 4(4) of the Birds Directive) to protect birds and their habitat requirements in the wider countryside. Ireland is also committed to reducing its carbon emissions through a greener energy mix, including wind energy. 

BirdWatch Ireland is in favour of the development of wind energy as a means of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and reducing carbon emissions. Most importantly, we believe that better planning, using the current bird senstivity mapping tool, can reduce the overall environmental impact of wind energy generation in Ireland. The mapping tool and its guidance highlight the species-specific sensitivities that need to be considered in the role out of such infrastructure. 

Note that: 

  • The mapping tool comes with guidance, which is integral to understanding what the tool is for. Please make sure to look at this (summary, complete, species-specific, methodology)
  • The tool is not a comprehensive map of where all vulnerable bird species occur.  It is indicative only. There may not be data available for the locations of all vulnerable species.
  • The map does not create ‘no go’ areas, nor does it give the all-clear for areas with 'less sensitive' species – it is an indication of where sensitivities exist using existing data


So, considering the limitations listed above, what can this tool do for you?




Guidance Document - Bird Sensitivity to Wind Energy Development (2.5 MB)

Executive Summary

Layer package - ITM (for use in GIS software) (1.2 MB)

Layer package - ING (for use in GIS software) (1.2 MB)

REST Service Endpoint (2KB)

Shapefiles (Please see Read Me guidelines included) (3.7 MB)

How to Use the Tool

Frequently Asked Questions


This project acknowledges the kind support of our funders, listed below.

 Bird Sensitivity Mapping funders


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