A study indicates that bird strikes against power lines is one of the main causes of death for a good number of species.

An electrocuted eagle owl.

Some five million birds It is estimated that they die every year due to collisions with power lines in Spain, according to a study by SEO / BirdLife, which analyzes the impact of electrical transport infrastructures on the migratory routes of birds.The environmental organization considers that the collision of birds against power lines is “a problem of the first magnitude” and that it involves “one of the leading causes of death of a good number of bird species ”, details, in a statement, the person in charge of the Endangered Species program of SEO / BirdLife, Nicolás López.

The study has not only focused on the flight routes of birds in the peninsular territory, one of the “most important dispersal and migration areas of birds in Europe”, the migration corridors between the eastern Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar.Migratory bird species such as the great glidersBustards and little bustards are the most prone to accidents, since their routes “are traversed by a large number of cables,” adds López.

Safe corridors

The analysis has identified as the most dangerous spots areas such as wetlands, areas of interest – ZEPA, IBA, Protected Natural Spaces – and areas with the highest concentration of this type of infrastructure such as large population centers where “they are arranged perpendicularly or radially to the routes for birds on their flight routes. Of flight”.The study Identification of black spots and sensitive areas in the main flight routes of birds in Spain has been funded by the MAVA Foundation and BirdLife International, and through it, the NGO has created a predictive model with which it intends establish safe corridors “Where the risk of mortality is minimal.”In addition, it includes a “much more realistic” biological variable, which shows in almost real time the areas that birds pass through during their migratory movements in order to anticipate possible accidents.For this reason, SEO / BirdLife urge the authorities and electricity companies to establish strategies and action measures, which include a “good planning of the layout of the power lines”, to choose compositions with less risk and to increase visibility in order to avoid areas where birds can pass by.