One more nature-friendly high voltage power line
The section of the Nemunas River in Kaunas is the most important bird wintering place in the continental part of Lithuania. Due to exceptional conditions having formed after the construction of hydroelectric power station in Kaunas ( KHE ), open stretches of flowing water remain there even in the coldest winter months. Such places are very important for birds, when all other water bodies are frozen. Thousands of water birds gather lower KHE. Last winter we had frosts only one month, but it was enough to see impressive number of birds here. During this year’s wintering waterfowl counts on 16th January observers registered record number of birds here – 15 156.
Naturally, such high number of birds in quite small territory face some difficulties, as lack of food, raptors etc. Not all of them survive. However, in Kaunas birds face another problem causing deaths of many birds. It is high voltage power lines.
High voltage electric wires crossing the Nemunas in three places make danger for water birds flying over the river, particularly swans. Heavy birds over the river often do not notice the wires and strike into them. Such collision often causes the death of birds.
In order to limit the risk of bird mortality due to short circuit or striking into the wires, Lithuanian Ornithological Society and LITGRID since 2014 started the EU financed LIFE+ project “Installation of the bird protection measures on the high voltage electricity transmission grid in Lithuania “ Nr. LIFE13 BIO/LT/001303. One of the Project‘ actions is increasing visualization of the wires hanging special well seen bird diverters making the wires more visible for birds. This measure is not a 100 percent effective, but significantly reduces the number of collisions.
One of three lines‘ visualization was increased in winter 2013-2014. This winter works were made in the sector near Kaunas hydroelectric power station – a place, which was extremally dangerous for birds. Works were continued for 4 days. Special bird diverters were hanged on 4 wires of one line (see photo below).
We hope that in cooperation with electricity transmission operators we can find the best compromise solutions for electricity users and the good of birds.Also we ask all people who have facts about places where birds are killed by high voltage electricity transmission wires to inform us: Marius Karlonas (tel. 8 651 20363; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lithuanian Ornithological Society (tel. 8 (5) 213 0498; email@example.com).
Photos © Marius Karlonas
Projektą „Paukščių apsaugos priemonių įdiegimas Lietuvos aukštos įtampos elektros energijos perdavimo tinkluose“ (LIFE13 BIO/LT/001303) finansuoja Europos Sąjungos aplinkos finansinis mechanizmas „LIFE+“, LR Aplinkos ministerija ir projekto partneriai. Projekto pradžia – 2014 m. birželis, planuojama pabaiga – 2018 m. liepa.