Artificial nests on power poles ensure birds' safety, power transmission on plateau
XINING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- More than 2,000 artificial nests will be installed on power poles scattered in a nature reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau this year to protect wild birds and ensure electricity transmission.
The Longbao National Nature Reserve is located in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Qinghai Province.
The subsidiary of the State Grid in Yushu said that 1,000 artificial nests on its 10-kilovolt transmission lines are under construction. Another 1,300 nests are expected to be installed on its 35-kilovolt transmission lines this year.
Standing at an average altitude of over 4,000 meters above sea level, Yushu has poor infrastructure due to the harsh climate and natural environment.
Yushu has invested heavily to improve its power facilities to guarantee electricity supply for the locals in recent years. However, wild birds in the areas were unexpectedly killed or injured due to the high voltage, and short circuits caused by birds happened frequently.
"Birds of prey like to make nests high in trees or on cliffs. Since grasslands on the plateau lack tall trees, power poles become their ideal places to make nests or perch on. But many birds including buzzards and falcons were electrocuted," said Han Xuesong, a member of a wildlife protection NGO in Yushu.
The Yushu electricity supply company launched a bird protection project in 2017, investing 290,000 yuan (43,000 U.S. dollars) to construct 16 points for birds to roost on and installing 30 artificial nests on power poles.
In April 2018, another 200 nests were installed. Nearly 60 percent of them had attracted birds and 32 chicks had been found in 14 nests, said Bao Yongbin, head of the operation and maintenance department of the company.
The mortality of birds caused by electrocution has seen declining since the project started. So far, only one bird gets electrocuted per kilometer of powerlines. The figure in the past was 10. Short circuits caused by birds have also reduced from 36.5 percent to 7 percent, according to the company.