Birds of Prey pp 273-302 | Cite as

Raptor Electrocutions and Power Line Collisions

  • Duncan T. EcclestonEmail author
  • Richard E. Harness


Electrocutions and collisions of birds with power lines have long represented an important worldwide conservation issue. Raptors such as eagles are susceptible to electrocution on distribution power lines because they are large birds and because certain species frequently perch or nest on power poles. Electrocution is an important cause of population declines among a number of sensitive raptor species. Electrocution risk is distributed unevenly among poles; for any pole, electrocution risk is a function of pole hazard (spacing between energized and grounded components) and exposure (pole utilization) by susceptible species. Habitat, sex, age, weather, and behavioral factors also play an important role in electrocution. Electrocution risk can be successfully mitigated by increasing separation between hazardous contacts, adding insulation, or attempting to redirect birds to safer locations. Statistical models are useful for identifying high risk poles, where mitigation can provide maximum conservation benefit. Raptor collisions with power lines also have been documented globally, and may involve sensitive species. Raptor collision risk appears to be elevated where lines bisect travel corridors, particularly when individuals are distracted by courtship, territorial defense, or hunting, or visibility is reduced by weather or low light. Collision can be reduced using devices increasing line visibility. Although numerous methods for reducing or eliminating electrocutions and collisions have been developed, published, and successfully implemented, raptor electrocutions and collisions persist. This chapter addresses common problems and solutions associated with raptor electrocutions and collisions.



We’d like to thank EDM International, Inc. for supporting the effort to develop this section. Special thanks to reviewers and co-workers Libby Mojica, Melissa Landon, and Dr. James Dwyer. Bryon Robb helped develop figure 2 and figure 8. We also wish to thank the Electric Power Research Institute, California Energy Commission, National Rural Electric Association, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee for sponsoring ongoing research that contributed greatly to the development of this chapter.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EDM International IncFort CollinsUSA

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