Birds come into contact with the electricity network through collisions with powerlines in flight or building nests on poles, transformers or within substations.
Western Power identifies risk areas for these incidents through surveys, reports of bird deaths and/or frequent power interruptions attributed to birds contacting live electrical equipment.
Western Power employs a number of measures to help protect birds such as installing:
- bird diverters
- nesting platforms
- roosting deterrents to powerlines and pole tops
Case study: Bird diversion
Bird diverters provide a visual aid to prevent birds colliding with powerlines. Diverters are made from durable material to withstand severe weather conditions and are usually yellow to increase the visibility of the diverters to birds in low light conditions when birds are most active.
Birds are particularly at risk of flying into powerlines in wetland areas. Western Power recently installed bird diverters on the transmission line between Bibra Lake and Cannington at the following locations:
- where the powerline crosses the bushland corridor at the Canning River,
- near the artificial wetlands at the intersection of Nicholson Road and Roe Highway, and
- the artificial wetland in Whaleback Golf Course.
Example of a bird diverter on a powerline
Case study: Operation Osprey
Western Power has been involved in several successful installations of artificial Osprey nesting sites in the south west of Western Australia. Ospreys are large water dependent birds of prey found mainly in coastal areas and have been to known to nest on power poles.
The most recent installation resulted from a storm in Geraldton which destroyed an active Osprey nest situated on an active power pole. To prevent the birds from rebuilding their nest on the same pole, Western Power installed a craypot on a separate, inactive wood pole near the existing nest to create an artificial nesting platform. Within one day of the craypot being installed, the Ospreys had moved into their new, sturdier nest.
Ospreys using the artificial nest made from a craypot