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Litgrid and Lithuanian Ornithological Society launches a joint bird protection initiative
2015-03-05

Litgrid and Lithuanian Ornithological Society launches a joint bird protection initiative

The Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid and the Lithuanian Ornithological Society have signed an agreement on the joint bird protection project. High-voltage overhead power lines are a frequent cause of death of migrating or breeding birds. To reduce such threats, the overhead power lines will be fitted with special markers and other bird protection measures, and nest boxes will be manufactured and mounted.
 
"Last year, the Lithuanian Ornithological Society conducted our commissioned study to find out the most effective measures for protecting birds and establish which power lines interfere with the migration routes of birds. These bird protection measures will be implemented together with the reconstruction works of the transmission grid and will serve two purposes: they will protect birds from a collision with power lines and at the same time secure power lines against damage caused by birds," said Vidmantas Grušas, Member of the Board of Litgrid and the director of the Transmission Grid Department.
 
To ensure the visibility of power lines to migrating birds, special bird diverters – reflectors and spirals – will be mounted on the lines. Over 100 km of high-voltage power lines will be marked with such bird warning signs. They will be fitted in locations where the big groups of large birds, such as swans, cranes and geese, flock. These particular types of birds suffer from collisions with power lines more frequently than others.
 
"Industrial structures such as factory chimneys, overhead power lines and other constructions which are vital for the economic activity of people have their consequences for birds. It is important that companies understand this and plan their activities responsibly. Markers increase visibility of overhead power lines and help birds to notice the obstacle, bypass it and thus to avoid a collision with the power line," said Liutauras Raudonikis, Director of the Lithuanian Ornithological Society.
 
Special measures will be taken to protect white stork which often sits on the power line insulators. “Wishbone” and “Saucer” type installations will be mounted on power line supports. “Wishbone” type installations discourage birds from landing on the supports, diverting them to safer locations. “Saucer” type protective devices mounted on the top of the string of insulators will partially protect the string and the line against contamination with bird droppings, at the same time protecting birds against potential contact with power lines. These two measures will also increase the reliability of the power grid.
 
For another protected species of birds – kestrels – 500 nest boxes will be produced and mounted. Mounted on the reinforced concrete supports in kestrels breeding areas, they will be easily accessible to birds and protect them against martens and other predators.
 
The project “Installation of the bird protection measures on the high voltage electricity transmission grid in Lithuania” is a part of the EU financial instrument for the environment LIFE+. The project is co-financed by the European Commission and the Ministry of Environment (75%) and Litgrid (25%).
 
More information on the project is available on www.birds-electrogrid.lt/en
 
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