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Keywords:

  • Birds;
  • electricity;
  • farmland;
  • nesting;
  • Poland;
  • power line;
  • pylon

Abstract

Over the past century, electricity power lines have been a conspicuous part of the European landscape. These structures are generally known to cause fatalities to birds. However, some bird species use electricity poles as nesting structures, song posts, or for perching. Other, but not-acknowledged, benefits probably include the marginal habitats around the base of pylons. We tested differences in breeding bird communities under pylons, under electricity high-voltage power lines, and in adjacent open fields. Birds were counted twice during the 2011 breeding season in a total of 91 study plots located in the intensive farmland of western Poland. Both species number and bird abundance were significantly higher under pylons and under power lines at control points than in open fields, especially where there were shrubs under the pylons. Pylons and power lines locally may play a positive role for the avian community in intensive farmland, especially if vegetation succession under pylons is allowed to develop to the shrub stage.