Collisions and electrocutions of birds with power lines constitute a threat to some species across the globe. In order to minimise bird mortality on planned or existing infrastructure, TSOs collect significant amounts of data on birds, however, whilst these data are used to guide decision making, they are seldom used outside of the context of a specific project. RGI saw the potential to improve our collective knowledge by finding ways to more effectively share study data on “bird grid interactions”. With a systematic collation of studies, meta-analyses could be done to better understand the drivers of bird collision/electrocution risk, the effectiveness of mitigation measures and ultimately provide science-based tools to guide route planning and mitigation measures.
In 2018, RGI teamed up with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to understand which data TSOs are collecting, what TSOs and NGOs see as the opportunities of improved data sharing as well as how this could best be practically achieved. Data was collected through a questionnaire and a workshop session. The BTO and RSPB produced a report of their findings, which included the below conclusions and recommendations:
(1) There is wide-recognition of the value of different types of data and information, and a positive attitude to working together across TSOs and NGOs. This was clear from both the questionnaires and workshop.
(2) Key data requirements include:
(3) There are significant institutional barriers to TSOs effectively sharing data, as well as limited time available to invest, that would need to be addressed.
(4) A stepped approach might be adopted to foster increased data sharing and collaboration through time. This would require:
As RGI, we intend to build on this clearly identified need and create a tool to better understand the drivers of bird mortality on power lines and the effectiveness of current and future mitigation measures.We want to speak to all stakeholders about their needs and how we could build something that provides value for conservation efforts and for the work of TSOs.