Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 44:109-110. December 2012


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society, 2012. Used by permission.


Collisions with electrical powerlines are a well-known documented cause of avian mortality (Avian Power Line Interaction Committee [APLIC] 1994, Savereno et al. 1996). Mortality caused by collisions with powerlines can be an important concern for many bird species, but is a serious conservation problem for threatened and endangered species because any mortality can have biological and legal ramifications (Janss 2000). Loss of individuals, particularly breeding adults, from an already small population may impede a species’ recovery by reducing reproduction and recruitment into the breeding population. The death of an individual from a threatened or endangered species as a result of a collision may constitute “take” as defined by the federal Endangered Species Act (1973; 16 U.S.C. 1531–1544.) and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918; 16 U.S.C. 703–712). Companies and/or individuals may be prosecuted when powerline collisions occur, particularly if recommendations intended to reduce the risk of collision, provided by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding the placement of the powerlines, have not been followed.