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Aves, 57/4 | 2020 | 207-233

  Mapping the risk of collisions between birds and high voltage lines in Belgium
Antoine Derouaux, Dominique Verbelen, Koen Devos, Jean-Yves Paquet

Article is not available in pdf French article available for download in 2022

Article summary

High voltage power lines are a source of mortality for many species of birds, which may collide with a line while flying. In order to minimize these collisions, the cables can be fitted with various types of beacons which increase their visibility. The most dangerous locations in Belgium have been identified by mapping the risk of such collisions, in order that the lines in these places may be fitted with visibility-beacons as a priority.The map is based on the following elements drawn from several ornithological databases: the locations of places where waterbirds gather, of roost sites and of colonies, of areas that are rich in rare and endangered species, of stopover sites for migrating species such as lapwing and plovers, of places that are known for goose grazing, and finally the locations of places reported to harbour certain widespread species said to be especially likely to hit overhead power cables while in flight.Almost 6 % of the 5,600 km of high-voltage lines in Belgium are considered to be high risk locations. Most of these locations are to be found in regions that are rich in waterbirds such as the edges of the coastal fringe, and in the interior of the country, the bigger valleys and the areas around wetlands. The map is already helping the network management to prioritize the protection measures, and it could allow better planning of network developments in the future.

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