Power lines have been given a makeover near a Lancashire wildlife sanctuary to make them more visible to migrating birds.
Work has been going on to instal eye-catching flight diverters to overhead cables at Martin Mere wetland centre in Burscough in an attempt to cut the number of casualties caused by collisions every year.
Thousands of wild birds head for Martin Mere annually to escape the colder weather further north. But not all make it in one piece, with power lines one of the worst hazards as they approach their winter feeding grounds.
Steve Cox, future network manager for Electricity North West, said: “By working closely with Martin Mere we discovered this was a sensitive section of the network as it was located in a known flight path and we are delighted to be able to help protect these wonderful birds.
“By limiting the chances of any collisions, the special diverters will also reduce any possible impact on customer power supplies.”
“We hope that the diverters and our subsequent research will go on to help birds and electricity customers across the UK.”
Martin Mere is home to more than 100 types of rare and endangered animals, including 30,000 pink-footed geese and 2,500 whooper swans which arrive late in the year, blown in from Iceland by harsh Arctic winds.
Most manage to negotiate the overhead cables and make a safe landing. But there are others who don’t spot the lines and come a cropper.
Electricity North West have teamed up with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust to fit the flight diverters - even with the power switched on.
Rosie Cooper, West Lancashire MP, said: “Having worked with both Electricity North West and Martin Mere on this issue the investment in this project is to be welcomed to better protect local residents’ power supply and improve wildlife safety. Hopefully, the birds of Martin Mere should now be a great deal safer thanks to these protective measures.”