Nota: en rojo sólo anotaciones y aclaraciones sobre el lugar donde va cada cosa, no son datos para colgar en la web. Correction of dangerous overhead cables in special protection areas for birds in the region of murcia

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NOTA: en rojo sólo anotaciones y aclaraciones sobre el lugar donde va cada cosa, no son datos para colgar en la web.

  • Bird electrocution and collision problem in power lines. (link 1)

  • Summary LIFE06/NAT/E/000214. ya está traducido en la web (link 2)

  • Partners and budget. (link 3)

  • SPA and target species. (link 4)

  • Actions. (link 5)

  • Development status. (link 6)

  • Documents. (link 7)

  • Links. (link 8)

  • More information and contact. (link 9)


The increasing demand of electric energy and its transport towards more and more sites in the country side involve the increase of the electric network and so its environmental impact. Bird electrocutions and collisions in power lines have serious consequences on populations of protected species. The accumulated experience in the Region of Murcia, due to data from the Wildlife Recovery Centre “El Valle” as well as specific studies performed by the Dirección General de Medio Natural in SPA, corroborate these impacts on birds of the Region. Affected power lines and species are different depending on two kinds of accidents:

  • ELECTROCUTION (link 1.1)

  • COLLISION (link 1.2)


Electrocution happens when bird perches on electricity pylons of distribution power lines with tension normally between 1 and 66 Kv:

  • by contact between two phases (contact phase-to-phase).

  • or, more frequently, by contact between one phase and some conductive element that can derive to earth (contact phase-to-earth).

Birds normally perch on top of crossarms (although they can do it on anyplace of the pylon). Therefore, in general, pylons with overhead elements on tension in crossarm are more dangerous; followed by pylons that have elements on tension in the same plane that perch places and finally, pylons that have elements on tension suspended under perch places. However, there is no innocuous design.

Other factors affecting probability of electrocution are:

  • wingspan of the bird.

  • abundance of birds in the area.

  • surrounding habitat.

  • geographic location.

  • weather.

Factors like geographic location or surrounding habitat, besides design of pylon, can determine that accidents recur in “prefered pylons”.
FOTO1. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) perching on vault type holder pylon. Picture: Santiago Villa.

FOTO2. Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis), perching on pylon at Ricote´s Valley. Picture: J.M. Escarabajal.

In particular, raptors and corvids are the most affected by electrocution birds, which use pylons as perches, viewpoints, hunting places, resting places, for drying wet feathers, etc.
Electrocution is one of the most important mortality causes of endangered raptors like Bonelli´s eagle, Spanish imperial eagle, osprey, red kite and Canarian Egyptian vulture.
FOTO3. Electrocuted Bonelli´s eagle on vault type pylon. This design was wrongly considered to be as little dangerous, currently, a moderate dangerousness is asignated. Picture: Domingo Rivera Dios.
In the Region of Murcia, eagle owl, jackdaw, short-toed eagle, goshawk, common buzzard and carrion crow are the species with higher number of carcass victims of electrocution. However, when relating number of carcasses to the abundance of each species in Region of Murcia, goshawk is the most affected species, followed by eagle owl, short-toed eagle, Bonelli´s eagle, common buzzard and golden eagle. The incidence on some declining species in the Region is unknown since, althoug carcass victims of electrocution has been found, there are any census of their regional populations.
FIG1. Affected by electrocution species in SPA in the Region of Murcia according to carcasses.
Others affectec species in the Region are griffon vulture, common kestrel, carrion crow, little owl and honey buzzard (not breeding), as well as domestic animals, like racing pigeons.
Collision with conductors affects all kind of power lines and all bird species, that crash with wires they find in their flight. However, thinner and less visible than conductors earth wires of lines of tension > 65kv, seem to the most important cause of collision. Most collision victims are gregarious species that fly in flocks. Birds at the front of the flock maybe avoid conductors, but collide with the upper earth wires and so do the birds that fly at the tail of the group. Then, the most affected species are pigeons, ducks, bustards, common cranes, flamingos and steppe-land birds.
Collision with power lines is one of most important causes of non natural mortality cause of endangered species like great bustard, Canarian houbara bustard, little bustard, capercaillie, alpine ptarmigan or bearded vulture. This phenomenon has not been well studied in Region of Murcia yet although some management actions have been carried out to prevent or to mitigate possible collisions with power lines in SPA.
FOT4. Wire-marking with saving-birds spirals in earth-wires of the transmission power line that crosses the SPA Sierra de Almenara, Moreras y Cabo Cope, in order to increase its visibility for birds. Action performed by project LIFE02NAT/E/8602 in agreement with Red Eléctrica de España. Picture: Equipo LIFE Almenara.
A financial instrument in arrangement with Regulation (CE) nº 1682/2004 of European Parlament and Council (LIFE-Natura) through the Decision of UE Commission, 6th November of 2006 was awarded in favour of the Project “Correction of dangerous overhead cables in SPA for birds in the Region of Murcia”. This project was requested by the Consejería de Industria y Medio Ambiente 15th September 2005, for developing from 1st January 2007 to 31st December 2010.
Iberdrola Distribution S.A.U. has been taking part as co-financial partner of the already carried out proyect LIFE02NAT/E/8602 “Conservation of Hieraaetus fasciatus-Almenara-Murcia”, apart from to collaborate with dangerousness studies for birds of power lines in SPA in the Region of Murcia. As a continue of its collaboration, and increasing considerably its participation, Iberdrola takes part as co-financial partner of this new LIFE Project.
TABLA1. Partners and contribution in LIFE06/NAT/E/000214 “Correction of dangerous overhead cables in SPA for birds in the Region of Murcia”
Localization. (mapa 1)
Correction of distribution power lines will take place in the SPA in the Region of Murcia:

  • ES0000173 SIERRA ESPUÑA (link 4.1)

  • ES0000264 LA MUELA-CABO TIÑOSO (link 4.2)


  • ES0000259 SIERRA DE MOJANTES (link 4.4)



(link 4.1) Regional Park Sierra Espuña. SPA Sierra Espuña

Target species:

    • Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

    • * Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

    • Common raven (Corvus corax)

    • Common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

    • * Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

    • * Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)

    • * Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus)

    • * Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

    • * Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

    • Common kestrel (Falco tinunculus)

* Species in Annex of Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

FOT5. Electrocuted eagle owl (Bubo bubo) on a pylon in SPA Sierra Espuña. Picture: Eloy Pérez Romero.

FOT6. Very dangerous for birds power line at Sierra Espuña. Picture: J.E. Martínez Torrecillas.

(link 4.2) Regional Park Sierra la Muela, Cabo Tiñoso y Roldán. SPA La Muela-Cabo Tiñoso.

Target species.

  • * Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

  • *Bonelli´s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)

  • *Golden ealge (Aquila chrysaetos)

  • *Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  • *Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

  • Common kestrel (Falco tinunculus)

* Species in Annex of Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

FOT7. Power line at Cabo Tiñoso. Picture: JM. Escarabajal.

(link 4.3) Regional Park Carrascoy-El Valle. SPA Monte el Valle y Sierras de Altaona y Escalona

Target species.

  • *Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

  • *Bonelli´s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)

  • Goshawk(Accipiter gentilis)

  • *Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

  • *Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  • *Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus)

  • Common buzard (Buteo buteo)

  • *Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)

  • *Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

  • Common kestrel(Falco tinunculus)

  • *Honney buzard (Pernis apivorus) (in migration way)

  • Little owl (Athene noctua)

* Species in Annex of Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

FOT8. Power line at SPA Monte El Valle y Sierras de Altaona y Escalona. Picture: JM. Escarabajal.

FOT9. Carcass of electrocuted eagle owl. Picture: JM. Escarabajal.

FOT10. Inspection of the remains of a bird under a pylon. Picture: JM. Escarabajal.

(link 4.4) SPA Sierra de Mojantes

Target species

  • *Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

  • *Eagle owl(Bubo bubo)

  • *Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni)

  • *Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

  • *Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  • *Red-billed chough(Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

  • Common kestrel(Falco tinunculus)

* Species in Annex of Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

FOT11. Power line at SPA Sierra de Mojantes. Picture: JM. Escarabajal.

FOT12. Pair of griffon vultures. Picture: Agentes Medioambientales.
(link 4.5) SPA Sierras del Gigante-Pericay, Lomas del Buitre-Río Luchena y Sierra de la Torrecilla

Target species

  • *Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)

  • *Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus)

  • *Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)

  • *Bonelli´s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)

  • *Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

  • *Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

  • Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)

  • *Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)

  • Common buzard (Buteo buteo)

  • *Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

  • *Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni)

  • Common kestrel (Falco tinunculus)

  • *Honney buzard (Pernis apivorus) (in migration way)

* Species in Annex of Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

FOT13. Electrocuted golden eagle in SPA Sierras del Gigante-Pericay, Lomas del Buitre-Rio Luchena y Sierra de la Torrecilla. Picture: Agentes Medioambientales.

(link 5) ACTIONS

(link 5.1) Actions A. Preparatory actions

  • Development and approval of a law about Electrical Regulation in the Region for the protection of birds in new power lines as well as modifications of the existing. There already are seven Comunidades Autónomas that have this kind of regulation. Moroever, last summer the Estate Regulation was approved, the Real Decreto 1432/2008, de 29 de agosto, wich establish technical measures for new and existent power lines to protect birds affecting some protection areas like the Special Protection Areas.

  • Correction projects.

  • Establishment of agreements with owners of power lines different to Iberdrola Distribution SAU.

  • Establishment of cooperation agreement with Iberdrola Distribution SAU.

(link 5.2) Actions C. Non-recurring management

Correction of a group of previously selected pylons: black points (pylons with carcasses or remains from use by raptors, like pellets), and a group of pylons that due to its design and habitat are candidates to be potential black points. In this way, it will take place a wide correction, comprising approximately half of the pylons in five SPA including 500 m buffer band of around them. Is in this band where most of power lines are concentrated, more than inside of SPA. Corrections consist of remodelling of pylons to decrease their dangerousness, or to change the crossarm, or isolation of conductors.

  • Correction of power lines of private owners different to Iberdrola Distribution SAU.

  • Correction of power lines owned by Iberdrola Distribution SAU.

(link 5.3) Actions D. Recurring management

  • Evaluation of the efficiency of corrective measurements through the determination of mortality of birds before and after corrections in selected power lines.

FOT14. Carcass of electrocuted eagle owl. Picture: JM Escarabajal.

(link 5.4) Actions E. Public awareness and dissemination of results

  • Edition of a handbook about Electrical measurements appropriate to minimize the risk of bird electrocution.

  • Training courses for technicians of administration and designers, installers and maintenance electrical companies about the new regulation for protection for birds.

  • Spreading activities in general: edition of information fliers, information meetings, web-site, signs…

  • Dissemination final report about the project: edition of CD-Rom.

FOT15. Spreading and courses supporting edited materials.(Aquí hay que añadir cuatro fotos que se adjuntan en la carpeta “fotosdifusion”)

FOT15. Materiales de difusión y de apoyo a los cursos de formación editados.(este pie de foto va en la página web en español, donde hay que añadir también las cuatro fotos del material de difusión del proyecto que se adjuntan en la carpeta “fotosdifusion”)
(link 5.5) Actions F. Overall project operation and monitoring

  • Management of LIFE Project and technical monitoring.

  • Exchange of experiences with participants from similar projects.

  • Legal and financial assistance of the LIFE project.

  • Financial auditing of the LIFE project.

Aquí se adjunta el documento “6235_CalendarioLIFE.doc”
(link 7) DOCUMENTS
Documentos que ya están colgados en la web:

  • Information flier “Correction of dangerous power lines in SPA in the Region of Murcia”. (pdf).

  • Information flier I Course about power lines and electrotechnical normative to protect birds. (pdf).

  • Cooperation agreement between Comunidad Autónoma and IBERDROLA DISTRIBUCIÓN SAU. (pdf).

  • Article: Power lines, a threat for birds. (pdf).

  • Poster III Congress of Nature: Management and conservation of ecosystems, flora and fauna. CEMACAM Torre Guil, 21 – 24 October 2004.ANSE.(pdf).

  • Report I National Conference about Power Lines and Bird Conservation in Protected Natural Spaces. Sierra Espuña, March 27th and 28th 2003.(pdf).

Documentos que hay que colgar también en la web en español y que se adjuntan en el cd:
En la web en español:

- I Curso sobre líneas eléctricas aéreas y normativa electrotécnica para la protección de la avifauna (fdf)

- II Curso sobre líneas eléctricas y protección de la avifauna. (pdf) la documentación te la pasaron anteriormente

- II folleto informativo “Corrección de tendidos eléctricos peligrosos en ZEPA en la Región de Murcia” (pdf)

- Póster del IV Congreso de la Naturaleza: Cambio climático y ecosistemas semiáridos. CEMACAM Torre Guil, 19 – 22 de Noviembre de 2008. ANSE. ( pdf)
En la web en inglés:

- II Course about power lines and protection of birds (pdf)

- I Course about power lines and electrotechnical normative for the protection of birds(pdf) la documentacion te la pasaron anteriormente

- II information flier “Correction of dangerous power lines in SPA in the Region of Murcia”.(pdf)

- Poster IV Congress of Nature: Climate Change and semiarid ecosystems. CEMACAM Torre Guil, 19 – 22 November 2008. ANSE (pdf)
(link 8) LINKS.

  • LIFE Aragón.

  • SEO/BirdLife International campaing about power lines

  • LIFE Program (European Commission web-site)

  • Natura 2000 Network: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino. Gobierno de España.

  • Natura 2000 Network: European Commission. Environment.

  • Countdown 2010.

Dirección General de Patrimonio Natural y Biodiversidad

Consejería de Agricultura y Agua

C/ Catedrático Eugenio Úbeda 3, 3ª planta. C. P. 30008. Murcia. Spain.

Tel. +34 968 22 88 34

Fax: +34 968 22 89 22


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