Energy beams and power lines are frequently the tallest landscape features available to species for perching and breeding in the Great Basin of the western United States. However, these artificial institutions can also pose dangers to animals.
There are many other threats to animals that live close to humans, despite the fact that power-line collisions and electrocutions are well-documented causes of bird deaths globally. Successful wildlife management depends on an accurate diagnosis, according to Eve Thomason, lead author, new Raptor Biology MS program graduate, and current Research Associate at Boise State University. ” To guide conservation decision-making, it is essential to know whether a bird died from burning, fell out of its nest, was shot, or even was exposed to arsenic.”
The study’s objective was to disprove the widely held belief that animals near power lines are most at risk from accident. In Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Oregon, trained spectators regularly drove or walked along 122 yards of power lines while gathering 410 dead birds. Each animal corpse was examined for obvious wounds, photographed, and then brought to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Health and Forensic Lab for a thorough investigation and x-rays in order to determine the cause of death.
The group was able to identify the cause of death for 175 of those animals, 66 % of which had gunshot wounds. Bald, beautiful, and various species of hawks were among the birds that were shot because they were protected by state and federal laws. As a result, these murders were forbidden. In contrast, collisions and electrocution deaths were distributed almost equally, accounting for 17 % of each.
According to co-author Todd Katzner, a wildlife biologist for Thomason and the U.S. Geological Survey Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist,” these results show that unlawful bird shooting along power lines is much more popular and possibly dangerous to bird restoration than we thought.” ” We didn’t know that shooting death was important to so many species across such a large geographic area, but it has been shown to affect people growth of some species, including beautiful eagles.”
Many birds had burns and burned feathers as obvious signs of lightning, but x-rays showed that they had likewise been shot. The utility company implemented on-site mitigation measures to reduce potential risk to birds at that site after one bald eagle collected in east Oregon displayed such encouraging physical signs of electrocution. Later, X-rays showed that the angel’s body was covered in many shotgun pellets.
We x-rayed the remains of every animal we found, making this study special. We discovered items that would have been missed with only physical examinations, so all that work was worthwhile, according to Thomason. ” In this instance, we suspect that the owl was shot and came into contact with electricity lines as it fell to the ground.”
For decades, utilities have concentrated efforts on reducing accident and incident along power lines. According to Natalie Turley, an Idaho Power scientist and co-author, the findings of this study demonstrate that killing is yet another conservation challenge for birds that needs to be addressed.
In the book iScience, a study titled” Illegal firing is now one of the leading causes of death of animals along power lines in the european USA” was released.
The Idaho Army National Guard, Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Boise State University’s Raptor Research Center, and US Geological Survey all provided cash for this review.
In areas where birds fatalities have occurred, Idaho Power provided entry to powerlines. In order to do investigations and x-rays, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Health and Forensic Laboratory offered instruction, guidance, conversation, and services. In addition to providing information on illegal wildlife shooting, law enforcement officers from the Bureau of Land Management, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service looked into some of the cases that were found during this research.