Bureau Waardenburg
Varkensmarkt 9
4101 CK Culemborg
the Netherlands
T: +31 (0) 345 512710
email buwa

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Birds and power lines

One of the main effects of high voltage power lines is the collisions of birds with the power cables. Other effects include disturbance to nesting, foraging and roosting areas.

There are a number of options possible to mitigate for the adverse effects on birds, such as the instillation of wire markers.

In order to assess the potential effects of power lines on birds (and also bats) it is necessary to understand the movements of birds in the area. Since 2007, Bureau Waardenburg has been involved in intensive studies investigating the impacts of high voltage power lines on birds. We have gained extensive knowledge in this field and advise on the possibilities for mitigation measures.

Research methods

For birds, the risk of collision with power lines is highest during dawn, dusk and at night. It is, therefore, important that information about the flight movements of both local and migratory birds can be collected during the hours of darkness. At Bureau Waardenburg, we use radar to record flight movements at night and over a wide area. The data from these radar studies are analysed using statistical and GIS software.

Bureau Waardenburg organised a symposium on the subject of birds and power lines at the 2009 European Ornithological Congress held in Switzerland. View the presentation.

Determining the effect of victims on the population

In order to estimate the potential number of collision victims for new power lines studies have been conducted at existing power lines. We have developed standardised search protocols, which also involves tests into the predation (and removal of potential victims) and detection rates. The number of collision victims can be compared to local populations in order to estimate the potential effect. These results can then be compared with populations and flight paths in other areas.

Back to Effect studies on birds

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