Preliminary results on bird collision with overhead power lines in Hungary: a case study around Pusztaszer Landscape Protection Area

Open access

Abstract

The literature on bird collision with power lines in Hungary is rather limited. We collected published records and carried out research on birds that collided with overhead wires, and we made a list of species, and the number of individuals recorded, around Pusztaszer Landscape Protection Area. The quality of data did not allow us to do robust statistical tests, and a large amount of collected data was not used in this paper, because of uncertainty. Finally, we used the records of 519 individuals of 63 species that got injured or died during collision with overhead wires. We found evidence, that low-, middle- and high-voltage power lines were all responsible for the collision accidents of birds. Birds that use wetlands or both wetlands and farmlands are the most threatened to collide with overhead electric wires. Most victims of collision accidents belong to Gruiformes, Charadriiformes, Pelecaniformes and Anseriformes orders. Our preliminary results suggest that the bigger the rate of weight and wingspan (wing-loading proxy) is, the greater the risk of birds colliding with power lines, probably because of poor manoeuvrability. Birds that move regularly, on a daily basis between their nests/roost sites and foraging areas are at higher risk to collide with electric wires. Our preliminary results do not support the hypothesis that birds which sit on power lines collide more frequently than birds that do not use wires. It seems that foggy weather circumstances increase the probability of collision events particularly in case of Common Cranes. Some large birds were found with burnt feathers after collision with middle-voltage power lines. A sizeable part of collided birds were protected or strictly protected. Bird collision with overhead wires is a serious problem in Hungary. Collision can be stopped on most dangerous part of overhead wires by converting to underground cabling. It is possible to reduce the number of collision events in case of high-voltage power lines by increasing their visibility. We always recommend underground cabling in case of wetlands, if new segments of electric wires would be carried out.

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