March 20, 2018 1.38 pm This story is over 68 months old

Swans safer thanks to man’s power line deaths campaign


Electricity providers took swift action to protect swans after a local man recorded a devastating number of birds killed by power lines at Baston Fen.

Josh Jones, who has a keen interest in ornithology in his spare time, was shocked to find five dead Mute Swans east of Baston, near Marsen Deeping, in recent days beneath the power lines.

He told Lincolnshire Reporter he also believed a local farmer had removed some carcasses from the roadside.

From his assessment, it appeared a nearby gaggle of between 50 and 60 roosting swans had been colliding with unmarked wires when leaving their nests in nearby gravel pits.

He decided that the quickest and most effective way to get the attention of providers Western Power Distribution, and to stop the issue continuing, was through social media, calling for the installation of special reflectors.

Less than a day after his posts on Twitter began gaining traction, WPD attended the site and installed 70 diverters at intervals along the line near to the old quarry at Baston Outgoing Road.

Wire diverters are not a legal requirement, but they are a long-standing practice, particularly in rural areas.

They work by giving a warning to birds in flight.

Josh said: “Swans have very poor eyesight and they aren’t the most agile birds to divert at the last minute. The result is fatal collisions.

“It’s a shocking sight to see, especially in such numbers.”

Stamford Western Power Distribution Team Manager, Tomasz Paradowski said: “The diverters alert the birds to the presence of the power lines by rotating in the wind.

“They also contain glow-in-the-dark natural crystals which absorb and emit purple ultraviolet light so that birds can see them at dawn, dusk or night time.

“We’ve installed them in other areas and they’ve proven to be effective, so we hope that our work here will have the same result.