Bird scarers at Seaton Wetlands

Countryside and Western Power Distribution trial devices to keep birds away from power lines at Seaton Wetlands

A trial project involving bird diverters - devices designed to save the lives of birds by discouraging them from flying into live overhead cables - is currently being carried out by East Devon District Council’s Countryside team at Colyford Common, in Seaton Wetlands nature reserve.

Working with Western Power Distribution (WPD), the council team has attached the bird diverters, which consist of colourful plastic fins that spin in the wind, to a short section of power line and will assess the impact of these devices.

Countryside Team Leader (Sites) James Chubb, said:

We used to get reports of birds occasionally striking power lines on the reserve. While it was never a massive issue, any loss of wildlife that is avoidable is something we are keen to address.

We wanted to avoid any action that would disrupt bird use of the entire site at Seaton Wetlands, and so a short section is being used as a test area. The diverters are designed to make the power lines visible to the birds but not create such disruption that the birds are put off the wider site.

Current indications of the trial are very positive as autumn has brought large numbers of visiting birds to the Wetlands, including large flocks of starlings and a scarce turtle dove has even been spotted on the nature reserve in the very area in which the pilot scheme has been installed.

James continued:

As autumn progresses into winter we will see larger flocks of duck returning to the Seaton Wetlands. Slower-flying large birds are the ones which historically have had problems with the lines, so we hope that this project will protect them on their return. In the meantime it’s great to see the smaller birds have not been affected by the diverter  and are continuing to enjoy the Wetlands as much as ever.

WPD Team Manager, Kevin Monkton said:

We’re pleased to have been able to assist East Devon District Council and to help protect the wildlife at the nature reserve. The flight diverters enable birds to see our overhead lines much clearer and to avoid the area around them. Another bonus is that they can also be installed onto the overhead lines without interrupting the power supply to customers in that area.

East Devon District Council Countryside’s service manage ten nature reserves across East Devon. Find out more about their work online at wildeastdevon.co.uk. For further information on Seaton Wetlands contact the countryside team via email countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or call 01395 517557.