Bird protection along high-voltage power lines

In many places, high-voltage power lines offer birds a welcome substitute or a useful supplement to nature: birds of prey use the pylons as a raised vantage point from which to keep a lookout for quarry. Other species build nests – especially in regions in which there are very few tall trees. The birds do not run the risk of an electric shock– the large insulation distance ensures that. The risk of collision is also only limited: the conductor bundles generally used in the transmission grid, which comprise several conductor cables, are easy for the birds to see.

Bird protection markers

More difficult to pick out are the individually run lightning protection cables. To reduce the risk to the animals, Amprion uses bird protection markers in areas of potential risk. Our objective: we want to operate a grid that is as bird-friendly as possible.

Die Informationsgrafik auf weißem Hintergrund zeigt einen Gittermasten mit Freileitungen, auf welchen ein Vogel zufliegt. An dem an der Mastspitze Blitzschutzseil sind zwei Vogelschutzmarkierungen dargestellt. Diese sehen wie große Rechtecke aus, welche herabhängen.

Bird protection programme for the EHV grid

Our bird protection programme goes back almost 20 years. Back then, research projects were conducted jointly with ornithological field stations, universities and associations to investigate the conditions under which birds collide with overhead lines. The key finding: the risk of collision and therefore the need for grid operators to take action exists in only a very small number of localised areas – namely, where overhead lines run through lowland and coastal areas or along stretches of water.

Based on these findings, Amprion initiated a comprehensive bird protection programme. Ornithologists identified critical route sections within the entire grid, in which birds were threatened by particular dangers. Amprion installed special bird protection markers on the lightning protection cables that are run between the tops of the pylons. We then had experts study and assess the efficacy of these measures. The outcome was very favourable and gratifying: with the aid of the markers, we were able to minimise the risks for birds by up to 90 per cent.

Bird protection hotline

The “Bird discovery and power line hotline” run by the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) together with the Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union, NABU) is an initiative that aims to improve the protection of birds along the power grid. The primary purpose of this hotline is to enable people to report collisions between birds and extra-high-voltage (EHV) power lines. But it can also be used to report dead birds discovered along the distribution grid.

Vogelschutzhotline der RGI
RGI’s bird protection hotline
Phone +49 (0)30 284984 5500