Wednesday, 22 November 2006 00:00
Power Lines & BirdsWritten by WGCU Newsroom
Bird advocates have released new guidelines for protecting birds from being electrocuted by power lines.
There are no exact figures but its estimated hundreds of thousands of birds are electrocuted by power lines every year. The American Bird Conservancy’s Steve Holmer says the deaths are a result of close contact since birds like perching on power lines and nesting on poles.
"one of the things this publication does is tell the power companies how to design their systems so they’re less to electrocute the birds and these events can also cause power outages as well so the industry has a strong interest in protecting the birds so they can protect their electric transmission system."
Birds with wide wing spans are the most frequent victims of electrocution. In Florida this includes large wading birds. The new guidelines, which are endorsed by the Department of the Interior – and representatives from electric utilities, call for power lines to be built at least five feet apart.
The nation’s Avian Power Line Interaction Committee has released new guidelines for electric utility companies to follow to protect birds and prevent power outages. The American Bird Conservancy Steve Holmer says hundreds of thousands of birds are electrocuted by power lines every year – especially migrating raptors.
"it is a problem for migratory birds, particulary the raptors because they have such large wing spans – they can actually go from one wire to another and they can actually go from one wire to another and that causes them to be electrocuted because it closes the circuit – so it’s the larger birds that have this problem"
In Florida, larger wading birds like blue herons and woodstorks have also been electrocuted. Among other things, the new guidelines call for power lines be placed at least five feet apart to accommodate the wing span of most birds. The guidelines were adopted with input from Florida Power and Light, the state’s largest electric utility.