17 pelicans died in a month near the Bourgas lakes as a result of collisions with power lines. The current study on the impact of high-voltage power lines is being carried out within the project “Pelican way of LIFE”.
Field experts from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds have identified a large number of pelicans killed in a collision with power lines from the electricity transmission and distribution networks in the last month. The victims include 15 Great White Pelicans and 2 Dalmatian Pelicans. All birds were found within the Mandra-Poda Special Protection Area.
The area is very important for both species pelicans during their migration, when tens of thousands of pelicans feed in the waters of the complex. Unfortunately, the area is fenced in with dangerous power lines. The electricity network is a very dangerous barrier, blocking the shortest paths between feeding and resting places for birds. The most common victims are heavy and slightly maneuverable pelicans. The high winds over the past few weeks have further increased the risk of collision and led to increased mortality.
BSPB has collected information about hundreds of bird deaths in the area from dozens of different species in the last few years. The most numerous are Great White Pelicans and Mute swans, but the list also includes various species of herons, ducks, seagulls, as well as endangered species such as the Dalmatian Pelicans and the Red-breasted Goose.
The current study on the impact of high-voltage power lines is being carried out within the project “Pelican way of LIFE”. One of the conservation activities of the project is to reduce the risk of collision for pelicans at key sites, including the Burgas Wetlands (Bulgaria), Danube Delta (Romania), Messolonghi and Amvrakikos (Greece), by installing bird diverters on at least 10 kilometers of power lines. These devices attract birds’ attention that helps them to avoid the power lines.
BSPB has been working on the problem for many years, and some of the risks for pelicans have already been reduced by installing diverters on the power lines in some important for pelicans areas in Bulgaria. More to come in the next years.