BirdWatch Ireland is
extremely concerned about the deaths of at least 15
migratory Whooper Swans in County Donegal. Their
carcasses have been discovered lying under
electricity lines close to the village of Carrigans.
Upon being informed earlier today of the discovery,
by a member of the public, BirdWatch Ireland staff
member Daniel Moloney travelled to the scene in the
company of local National Parks and Wildlife Service
ranger Lee McDaid. They confirmed that the swans had
collided with the wires in flight and that the cause
of the birds’ deaths was electrocution. A high
proportion of the swans that were killed were
juvenile birds, just a few months old.
It appears that the deaths were the result of
multiple separate collisions with the electricity
wires over a period of several weeks. Some of the
birds were freshly dead, while others showed varying
levels of decomposition, indicating that they had
died on various different occasions.
BirdWatch Ireland is very worried that Whooper Swans
will continue to be electrocuted at this site in the
days and weeks to come unless urgent action is
taken. It has contacted the ESB to inform it of the
problem and to recommend that immediate measures be
put in place to prevent further collisions.
Approximately 700 Whooper Swans were today noted
feeding in a field immediately adjacent to that in
which the dead birds were discovered, with
additional new birds arriving in groups thoughout
the day, and BirdWatch Ireland fears that further
collisions and swan deaths are likely.
The wires in question are fitted with “deflectors”
which are supposed to make them more visible to
flying birds, but evidently these do not appear to
be working satisfactorily in this case. Indeed,
several of these deflector devices have been knocked
off the wires due to the swan collisions, further
reducing the visibility of the wires.
Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said: “It is very
concerning that these migratory Whooper Swans have
been electrocuted in Carrigans, especially in such
large numbers. Ireland hosts internationally
important numbers of Whooper Swans each autumn and
winter, and it has a special responsibility to
conserve and protect them. We sincerely hope that
measures can be put in place to prevent further swan
deaths as soon as possible.”