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Keywords:

  • Birds;
  • effective conservation;
  • electrocution;
  • electricity;
  • Poland;
  • power line;
  • white stork

Abstract

Anthropogenic changes have strongly influenced the biodiversity of Europe. In the last 50 years electric power-line networks have become a conspicuous part of the European landscape, and have strongly influenced the survival of some bird species. When they were constructed it was known, at least locally, that these lines and their support structures would cause fatalities in the white stork Ciconia ciconia. Annually thousands of white storks die in collision with, and through electrocution by, power lines, and these are important causes of their mortality. Using data collected in central Poland we show that technical modifications to electricity poles are an effective way to assist stork conservation and may, at least locally, reduce mortality by electrocution to zero. Because the white stork is an icon of nature conservation, we believe that public utilities and power-line companies will more readily focus on protecting this species; while indirectly aiding wider bird conservation. Furthermore, since contact with power-lines results in a break in energy transmission, these modifications also positively benefit both energy consumers and power companies.