High-voltage power lines put migratory birds at risk in western Venezuela

High-voltage power lines put migratory birds at risk in western Venezuela

The migratory birds that arrive at the mangroves located in Golfete de Coro, Falcón State, are being affected by the lack of repellant signaling on the high-voltage power lines that run along the “Coro-Punto Fijo” highway. Many of them collide with the power lines and are electrocuted to death.

Correspondent lapatilla.com

This fact was denounced by the Falcón bird conservation, dissemination and study initiative through its Instagram account @veoavesfalcon and they explain in a video how the birds, mainly flamingos, are electrocuted when colliding with the high voltage lines.

The power lines must have reflecting buoys/orbs, which at some time they did, but due to the lack of preventive maintenance they have been falling, leaving the power lines without any signage. During a visit, environmentalists found an adult flamingo with a broken wing and dehydrated, since it had stopped feeding because it could not move easily. They provided help with the support of experts on the species.

Through a video they ask for support from different organizations to address the lack of buoys (reflecting orbs, marker balls) in the area and avoid more events like these. “We all like how flamingos adorn our marine-coastal landscape, but we constantly see them dead on the ground or hanging from power lines, and this happens also with other bird species that use this migration corridor and depend on this ecosystem. Species necessary for the balance of this ecosystem. The problem has a solution, we can avoid these accidents. We once again call on the authorities to address this problem,” reads the post.

What is the Golfete de Coro?

The Golfete de Coro is a small body of water located west of the isthmus of the Paraguaná peninsula in Falcón State in western Venezuela. It is an area surrounded by extensive wetlands where Punta Maragüey and Punta Caimán are located, which are two sand bars that extend in a southeast-northwest direction from the coast, which were formed with the contributions of sediments from the mouth of the Mitare river to the west of this small gulf.

Both bars and the coasts have large extensions of intertidal plains, bordered to the west by mangrove ecosystems where Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) predominates, and a bar to the east that separates the intertidal from the sandy beach.

These sites receive large concentrations of migrating shorebirds of various species, including the Rufous-breasted Knot or Rufous Knot (Calidris canutus rufa), the Gross-billed Plover (Charadrius wilsonia wilsonia) and the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) that come to replenish their energy and nutrients necessary to continue their annual migration.

These birds have not only been threatened by the electrical system, but also by the contamination of the mangroves caused by gas and oil leaks from the submarine pipelines that crisscross the Golfete from Zulia State to the Paraguaná Peninsula to supply the Amuay and Cardon refineries.

Sandra B. from the Institute of Zoology and Tropical Ecology, Central University of Venezuela, published a research in 2021 detailing the types of birds that arrive at the site, they also found that they are threatened by oil industry spills.

Researchers from the Institute of Zoology and Tropical Ecology of the Central University of Venezuela, the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research and the Executive Office of the Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) have all conducted censuses since 2018 in both sites, thanks to the support of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

This monitoring has made it possible to establish that several species of recorded migratory shorebirds have abundances that exceed 1% of the biogeographic population, such as the Red Knot, Arctic Knot (Pluvialis squatarola) and Gross-billed Plover. Banded shorebirds (C. canutus and Ch. w. wilsonia) were also sighted, all originating from the eastern United States via the Atlantic Migratory Flyway.