Lines and birdlife

Lines have potentially negative effects on birdlife. While the risk of electrocution characterizes low- and medium-voltage lines, Terna’s high-voltage lines can be dangerous particularly for the risk of collision. This is why on stretches of line characterized by the frequent presence of birds of transit the Company has installed special devices called “dissuaders”, which, with their encumbrance and the noise made when they are blown by the wind, make the lines easier to perceive by the birds in flight.

DISSUADERS FOR THE BIRDLIFE PRESENT ON THE NTG

  2010 2009
N. of lines concerned 37 3
Km of line concerned 159 14
Total n. of  dissuaders 8917 8845

In 2008 Terna signed an agreement with the LIPU (the Italian partner of Birdlife International) for a scientific study of the interaction between high-voltage lines and birds.
The project constituted an important opportunity to study for the first time, and on a large national scale, the actual interactions of birdlife with the high- and extra-high-voltage lines of the national transmission grid (NTG). In effect, the only studies available regarded the phenomenon of the electrocution of birds whose wings touch two wires at the same time, which is typical of low- and medium-voltages lines.   
 Numerous studies have shown how electric lines constitute observation posts for raptors’ hunting. They alight on the towers because of their height, as well as the protection they offer from their own predators

In 2010, Terna continued to support the “nests on towers” initiative in cooperation with the Ornis Italica ornithological association, which during the last few years has led to the installation of more than 550 boxes – over 300 in Lazio, over 120 in Emilia Romagna, 80 in Lombardy, 30 in Puglia, and 14 in Umbria – suitable for the nesting of birdlife. Constant monitoring of the boxes by a group of researchers has led to the collection of numerous biological and ethological data and to evidence for a positive effect in terms of biodiversity. Among the main species that have occupied the nest boxes are the kestrel (a species of small falcons that have adapted to living in anthropic environments), the peregrine falcon, the scops owl, and the European roller.
The boxes installed on towers were monitored again during the 2010 reproductive season to collect data on reproduction. The nests were inspected from the middle of March on to ascertain if they were occupied, determine the size of the brood and the date of laying, and assess the extent to which reproduction was successful. Monitoringi the nests installed enabled 25 kestrels to be ringed in Rome province before they started to fly and more than 100 newborn ones in Parma province. Overall, about 200 young birds took flight from nests on Terna’s towers.
In the spring of 2010, 6 kestrel nests were installed in the Perugia area and 87 nests were prepared to host red-footed falcons and European rollers in the Ferrara and Parma areas.
In 2010 Terna continued to sponsor the ”birdcam” project in cooperation with Ornis Italica, which provides for the installation of television cameras on artificial nests to follow the birds’ reproduction period online on Terna’s website and the www.birdcam.it site. Among other things, the connection via webcams allows animal behavior to be observed scientifically even by remote researchers. The activities of the 2010 season began in January by turning on the cameras in the nest of Aria (Air) and Vento (Wind), the couple of peregrine falcons that nest on a building of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.