Local volunteers preventing bird electrocution

As part of the LIFE SUPport project, volunteers took part in the second educational workshop on monitoring of bird electrocution in Kvarner

  • 11.12.2023.

On the 2nd and 3rd of December, volunteers from the Kvarner region participated in an educational workshop on the topic of bird electrocution on the island of Cres. The workshop was organized by the Biom association as part of the LIFE SUPport project, which focuses on preserving the Croatian population of Eurasian griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) nesting in the Kvarner Islands. Since electrocution is one of the most significant causes of their mortality on the island of Cres, the project aims to implement protective measures at key locations to reduce it as well as mortality of other birds from electrcution.

Mortality from electric shock (electrocution) on power grid poles most often affects birds with a larger wingspan. In the case of electric poles, where there is a short distance between the electric conductors, a bird that lands on the power line closes the circuit. It does so by bridging two live conductors with its wings or by touching the live conductor and the ground and thus dies.

Participation in the training on electrocution has prepared local volunteers for monitoring of critical areas and points in Istria and Kvarner region. This enables volunteers to independently conduct monitoring in their area and contribute to identifying potentially dangerous poles and power lines. Such engagement of local people is highly significant in preventing the electrocution of griffon vultures and other endangered bird species.

After the determination of critical points through the efforts of volunteers, protective measures will be applied at key locations. In the past few years, HEP Distribution System Operator d.o.o. (HEP ODS) has implemented technical measures on over 400 medium-voltage poles on Cres, aiming to protect birds and prevent their electrocution.

The educational workshop consisted of a theoretical part, where the participants got a brief insight into the activities and achievements in the prevention of electrocution carried out so far, and a practical part in the field. Together with Biom employees, the Kvarner volunteers visited some demonstration points where they could see first-hand what the dangerous poles look like and how some of the mitigation measures are installed. Unlike the previous workshops, this time the volunteers were fortunate not to find any dead birds near the few poles they visited.

(This article was translated into English by Maja Dragojević)