Rare birds die after colliding with power lines so farm installs bird flight diverters

About 35 bird flight diverters have been installed at a Northumberland, UK farm after a number of rare birds died when they collided with power lines.

It is hoped the diverters, at Highside Farm, Hexham, will stop the birds from flying into the lines mid-flight.

The measures were put in place after farmers noticed a concerning number of bird fatalities, including several breeding curlews and black grouse.

Both species are on the UK Red List due to their declining populations.

The diverters, which have been installed nine metres apart along the power lines, are small plastic discs with reflective stickers on either side.

They were placed during planned works on the farm that would have required a temporary power shutdown.

Farmer Christina Moore said: “We’ve found quite a few dead black grouse and curlew near the power lines over the years that we have lived here, and to have these discs fitted now is just brilliant.

“Hopefully, this will stop any birds from flying into the lines, and we can start to worry less about the birds that use our farm.”

Daniel Thomas, from Northern Powergrid, said the diverters were a “very successful aid”.

Curlews are a threatened species and the population has declined by 48% in the UK since the mid ’90s.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is leading a project called Curlew LIFE, which aims to enhance habitats for the birds and stabilise populations.

Ian Cole, from the RSPB, said the installation of the diverters was a “significant step” towards the conservation of both curlews and black grouse in the region.

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