Thursday, June 23, 2011

'Flight diverters' to come to birds' rescue.

BHAVNAGAR: The Gujarat Electric Transmission Corporation (GETCO) will install bird flight diverters on the 66 km high-tension cables that pass through the marsh located at Kumbharvada-Nari road on the outskirts of Bhavnagar. Officials say this will prevent the electrocution of migratory birds, especially flamingos.
Officials say the bird flight diverter is an innovative device consisting of a bright orange disc swinging from a strong snap clamp, which can be fitted to conductors with a hot stick from the ground. Birds detect the movement or colour of the disc and veer away preventing bird strike.
They are made from durable materials and will not deteriorate in coastal areas and can withstand cyclones.
This technology is used in western countries. As large birds lack the maneuverability to avoid overhead power lines, the diverter simply makes the line look bigger, so that it gives the bird enough time to change direction and save its life.
TOI earlier reported the deaths of flamingos after they hit the 66 km high-tension cables of GETCO. The post-mortem of the bird carcasses confirmed the electrocution.
A meeting between GETCO and forest department officials was held recently to find out a long-term solution to this death trap.
"As an immediate step, we placed 'scarecrows' below GETCO's power cables where the birds were found dead and we have observed that no deaths were reported since then," said N P Maheshwari, superintending engineer, GETCO.
"Now, as a long-term solution, we will place bird flight diverters on our cables to prevent birds from hitting the high-tension cables. We have initiated the process," said Maheshwari.
However, GECTO officials say it is difficult to install the diverters because sewage has accumulated below the transmission lines. "As of now, we are unable to approach the transmission cable lines due to the depth of water. We have asked the Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation for help," said a source in GETCO.
"The decision of putting reflectors on high-tension cables is a viable long-term solution and is a welcome step to save birds. It should be installed at every spot where collision deaths of birds were reported in the state," B M Parasharya, ornithologist at Anand Agricultural University and a flamingo expert, told TOI.
Parasharya had visited the site in Bhavnagar and met forest department and GETCO officials to discuss the matter.

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