Bird Behavior and Mortality in Relation to Power Lines in Prairie Habitats




Faanes, Craig A.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service


Research was conducted to determine the magnitude of avian mortality caused by power transmission lines in prairie habitats during the two spring and two fall migrations periods between July 1980 and May 1982. Searches for dead birds were made at least twice weekly during each migration period. Study sites were selected to include worst-case situations involving potentially large concentrations of birds. In total, 633 dead birds were found beneath 9.6 km of power lines. About 81% of the birds were found during fall migration. Removal of birds by scavengers was of minor, although local, importance, and observer error in finding birds was greatest in areas of dense vegetation. Total kill was estimated at 1,332 birds....Whereas none of the mortality observed was considered to be biological significant at the particular sites examined, the cummulative effect of mortality sustained from collisions with power lines may be important, particularly to populations of rare or endangered birds.


24 pgs.


Birds, Mortality, Behavior, Electric lines, Environmental Aspects, Prairie ecology