As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

New reflective markers help birds avoid power lines

Andrea MacLean, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, August 24, 2016 8:43PM MDT 

Many migratory birds will soon begin the long trip south for the winter. The trip comes with many hazards, one of them being transmission lines that cross their flight path.

Hitting a line can be deadly for birds but Alberta's largest regulated electricity transmission company is trying to keep birds from colliding with their wires.

“We take bird collisions very seriously,” said AltaLink Environmental Advisor, Nikki Heck. “We’ve had a standard in place since 2008 where we’ve been installing various different types of bird markers.”

Transmission lines near wetlands have proven hazardous to birds. AltaLink is installing a new system to keep them safe.

There were several reports in the spring of birds colliding with the power lines over Frank Lake near High River. On Wednesday crews were out installing the bird diversion system.

The system requires linemen to scoot across the 500 kilovolt line and stopping every 10 metres to install a bright orange and yellow reflective marker.

The markers, which can be seen kilometres away by birds and humans alike, have reflective coating on three sides. They are designed to be seen in all types of weather conditions and they even glow in the dark.

“Birds fly in at night, birds fly in early in the morning or in fog. In those sorts of conditions it’s very difficult to see the line so we want to see a product like this on the line so they can still see it,” said Heck.

“Waterfowl and other large water-birds like swans, geese, ducks, they’re not overly maneuverable. So, anywhere we have a transmission line near a wetland area that supports large numbers of birds like this, this is a good mitigation that we can use to help those birds to see the line in advance so that they can maneuver around the obstacle.”

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