Power Line Collision

Hazards to Birds from Electricity


Birds risk flying into power lines if they lie in their path.

(not to mention other man-made ojects such from wind turbines, vehicles or windows)

an Osprey who collided with a power line broke it's wing and had to be put down

A Rutland fledgling Osprey 9J collided with a power lines on 12 Aug 2013.
It was reported by a local gamekeeper and was taken to Oakham Vetinary Hospital
but was found to have broken it's wing so badly it had to be put down as reported in the Rutland Ospreys Blog.

Power line collision risk is influenced by a number of factors, including:

proximity of lines, infrastructure to migratory routes, flight zones
topography of surrounding terrain

time of day / degree of darkness (indeed most collisions happen at night)
weather conditions - rain, mist, fog, wind, darkness affect visibility, navigation and flight accuarcy

size, weight, wing-weight ratio
perching behaviour
maturity, age-skill of bird
natural flight speed + height
flight responsiveness / maneouveurability
vision + focus of attention when flying
Picture of Swans flying by a row of Powerlines and Pylons ? Catherine Clark
Drawing of the wind and the rain

Kestral which has died in a power line collision

A Kestral who died in Spain from a power line collision

Birds generally collide with the earth wire which is less visible
and frequently positioned highest above the other wires.

Out of all the causes of bird mortality, death from power lines features very high shown by this USA data from 2013 published by Benjamin K. Sovacool:

USA bird mortality stats from 2013 published by Wikipedia ana

There do not appear to by any UK Stats of a similar nature but many research projects from other countries echo or even exceed this finding.

Being Informed of the Facts

image of dead Great Bustard with wind turbines behind

'Jorge', the last great bustard in Cadiz region, killed by turbines or power lines

Birds particularly at risk are larger birds such as Swans, Storks and Flamingos and also birds of prey.
The impact of collision, along with electrocution, can completly threaten a species towards extinction as is the case with many Storks, Eagles and Vultures.