We compared avian behavior and mortality associated with two 115-kV transmission lines on the central South Carolina coast during 3,392 hours of observation from May 1991 through May 1994. One line was marked with 30-cm-diameter yellow aviation markers. The second line was unmarked, but was similar in most other aspects. We conducted ground searches (n = 445) beneath each line year-round to document avian mortality due to power-line collisions. At marked lines, birds that approached at line height changed behavior more at unmarked lines (P< 0.001), and fewer crossed between static and conductor wires. Collision rate was 53% lower at marked than unmarked lines. Among collisions at both sites, 82% of birds collided with static wires. Based on observed collisions and carcass recoveries, wading birds particularly appeared to be at risk. We concluded that aviation markers were effective at increasing line visibility and reducing collisions and recommend marking static wires of power lines in potentially sensitive areas.
Additional publication details
Avian behavior and mortality at power lines in coastal South Carolina