Reducing bird collision with high voltage power lines
High- and very-high-voltage power lines have been identified as a major human-induced source of mortality for birds. When birds fly in large groups, or in poor visibility conditions, they can collide with these structures, in some instances in sufficiently large numbers to raise concern. Elia, as the power transmission system operator in Belgium, intends to identify its own overhead power lines that present a serious collision risk for birds.
In the case of existing power lines, a cost-effective manner to decrease collision risk involves placing markers or “diverters” on the lines, in order to make them more visible to birds, even in poor visibility conditions.
To prioritize the placement of these diverters on the most dangerous sections, Aves engaged in a collaboration with Natuurpunt, Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) to bring the most dangerous sections on the map.
Bird data gathered by thousands of birdwatchers in the field were put together to build this map. Bird species were classified according to their specific collision risk. According to the local abundance of each species, a "Bird Collision Risk" score has been calculated for each line section. Most of the dangerous power lines are located in areas where major concentrations of waterbirds occur: the polders area, the wetlands in the vicinity of the Port of Antwerp and some river valleys.
Elia already started to take measures on some identified lines.
The complete report is available through this link.