Investigation demanded after 15 swans electrocuted by overhead wires

first_imgUp to 15 stunning swans have been killed after being possibly electrocuted in Co Donegal.Their carcasses have been discovered lying under electricity lines close to the village of Carrigans.BirdWatch Ireland is extremely concerned about the deaths of at least 15 migratory Whooper Swans. Upon being informed earlier today of the discovery by a member of the public, BirdWatch Ireland staff member Daniel Moloney travelled to the scene, in the company of local National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Lee McDaid.They confirmed that the swans had collided with the wires in flight and that the cause of the birds’ deaths was electrocution.A high proportion of the swans that were killed were juvenile birds, just a few months old.It appears that the deaths were the result of multiple separate collisions with the electricity wires over a period of several weeks. Some of the birds were freshly dead, while others showed varying levels of decomposition, indicating that they had died on various different occasions.BirdWatch Ireland is very worried that Whooper Swans will continue to be electrocuted at this site in the days and weeks to come unless urgent action is taken.It has contacted the ESB to inform it of the problem and to recommend that immediate measures be put in place to prevent further collisions.Approximately 700 Whooper Swans were today noted feeding in a field immediately adjacent to that in which the dead birds were discovered, with additional new birds arriving in groups throughout the day, and BirdWatch Ireland fears that further collisions and swan deaths are likely.The wires in question are fitted with “deflectors” which are supposed to make them more visible to flying birds, but evidently these do not appear to be working satisfactorily in this case. Indeed, several of these deflector devices have been knocked off the wires due to the swan collisions, further reducing the visibility of the wires.Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said: “It is very concerning that these migratory Whooper Swans have been electrocuted in Carrigans, especially in such large numbers.“Ireland hosts internationally important numbers of Whooper Swans each autumn and winter, and it has a special responsibility to conserve and protect them. We sincerely hope that measures can be put in place to prevent further swan deaths as soon as possible.”Whooper Swans are winter visitors to Ireland, migrating here each autumn in family groups from their nesting grounds in Iceland. The species is listed in Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive and consequently is afforded special protection under Irish law and is subject to special conservation measures. The Whooper Swan should not be confused with the more familiar Mute Swan, which is a different species. Mute Swans are present in Ireland year-round and do not migrate, and it is the type of swan that is often found in parks and along canals in urban and suburban areas and which can be very tame around humans; Whooper Swans are much shier and tend to avoid people.Both species are very large birds with pure white plumage and very long necks. Whooper Swans can be distinguished, however, by their smooth, sloping beaks, which are yellow and black in colour, whereas Mute Swans have orange and black beaks with a very prominent black “knob” or bump at the base.Investigation demanded after 15 swans electrocuted by overhead wires was last modified: November 14th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalelectrocutedswanslast_img

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