An Automated System for Monitoring Bird Collisions with Power Lines and Tower Guys

R.G. Carlton (USA)


Avian mortality, collision monitoring, bird strike indicator


Avian interactions with utility structures can be positive or negative for both birds and utilities. Negative interactions (e.g., electrocutions or collisions) can be fatal to birds as well as cause power outages. Positive interactions (e.g., falcon nesting on utility stacks) are good for birds and for the industry (public image). The nationwide goal of reducing negative avian interactions is shared by the electric power industry, the communications industry, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many non-governmental organizations. In the last 20 years many advances have been made in the areas of bird friendly structure designs and mitigation approaches. A major hindrance to achieving further progress lies with our limited ability to observe and quantify avian interactions with man-made structures, which are rare relative to the numbers of birds. The research and development effort described here has resulted in two significant advances toward reducing avian mortality. The first is the Bird Strike Indicator (BSI) system, which monitors and records bird collisions with power lines or tower support guys. The second is a statistically robust method for conducting on-the-ground searches for carcasses of birds (or bats) which have collided with power lines or tower cables.

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