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The potential effects of the proposed increase in wind energy developments on birds are explored using information from studies of existing wind farms. Evidence of the four main effects, collision, displacement due to disturbance, barrier effects and habitat loss, is presented and discussed. The consequences of such effects may be direct mortality or more subtle changes to condition and breeding success. The requirements for assessing the impact of future developments are summarized, including relevant environmental legislation and appropriate methods for undertaking baseline surveys and post-construction monitoring, with particular emphasis on the rapidly developing area of offshore wind farm assessments. Mitigation measures which have the potential to minimize impacts are also summarized. Finally, recent developments in the monitoring and research of wind energy impacts on birds are outlined and some areas for future work are described.