Effects of a missile launching on waders and other waterbirds in the Meldorfer Bucht, Germany

C.J. Smit, M.L. de Jong

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


Missile tests in the Meldorfer Bucht have been under debate for many years, especially since the test area has become part of the National Park Schleswig Holsteinisches Wattenmeer. Alterra Texel, as an independent institute involved in biological research in the Wadden Sea for many years, has been asked to quantify the effects of these tests by means of a brief field study. The results presented in this report are based on observations during a single observation day. Our results are combined with theoretical predictions and data from earlier studies. It appears that the use of helicopters for making clear range flights and for collecting the remains of the missile from the mudflats have the highest impact, especially because of disturbance of birds. Some thousands of waders and other waterbirds are disturbed briefly. The impact of these disturbances, expressed as extra energy expenditure for birds, can be classified as small. The number of macrobenthic animals (like worms and shellfish) killed by the missile landing on the tidal flats can be classified as very small. Although our study has been short and relatively superficial we believe that the results can be considered as a valid expert opinion on the most relevant implications of the impact of weapon technology trials in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Publication series



  • helicopters
  • germany
  • birds
  • waterfowl
  • effects
  • waders
  • disturbance
  • wadden sea
  • military activities


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