Balance of the correction of dangerous electrical pylons for birds in the province of Barcelona

During the year 2008, the Conservation Biology Team of the University of Barcelona (EBCAP) has carried out a global valuation of the corrections made in the last 7 years in a trial area of about 2,000 km2 located in the pre-coastal sector of the province of Barcelona, that includes 3 territories of Bonelli’s eagle where several cases of electrocution of adult individuals are known. In the previous studies made by the EBCAP in this zone, they had been catalogued and calculated the electrocution risk of 17,804 electrical pylons. This information allowed to prioritize the correction works in those pylons with greater electrocution risk for birds.

From November 2001, a total of 1,157 pylons that are property of 3 powerline companies that operate in the province (FECSA-ENDESA, Electra Caldense S.A. y Estabanell y Pahisa Energia S.A.) were corrected. The evaluation of all the corrections has allowed to establish which measures are more effectives in the field. The results have stated that the number of corrections made at the moment already has significally reduced the cases of mortality by electrocution detected in the zone. In addition, in the last 5 years any new case of electrocution of the individuals of Bonelli’s eagle that breed in the territories included in the work area has been registered. The positive results show the necessity to finalize the correction works in the present area and also to extend them to other zones of Catalonia important for the Bonelli’s eagle.

The accomplishment of this project has been possible thanks to the collaboration agreements between the Diputació de Barcelona, the University of Barcelona, the Fundación Miguel Torres and the 3 electrical companies previously mentioned. The preliminary results of the project were presented the day 3rd of December in the II Course on electrical lines and protection of the birds, organized by the Life project of Conservation and Managing of the Bonelli’s eagle of the Dirección General de Patrimonio Natural y Biodiversidad of the Community of Murcia.