What is Bird Diverter?

Latest Context: Bird Diverters came in the news after the Great Indian Bustard, the critically endangered species in India started falling dead over the collision with power lines that run through their natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan. An alternative mechanism to guide the birds away from the power lines is the Bird Diverter.

Understand what is bird diverter in this article and the Supreme Court’s intervention in this case. Questions can be framed in the prelims paper of the IAS Exam.

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What is the use of Bird Diverter?

The Bird Diverters came in the highlight when the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Wildlife Conservation Society introduced ‘FireFly Bird Diverters’ for overhead power lines in the areas where Great Indian Bustard (GIB) are found.

It is installed on the transmission lines which birds can spot from a distance of about 50 meters.

The high voltage power lines that run through the natural habitats of GIB has become one of the reasons for their falling number as birds collide with these power cables and collapse.

Why is the Great Indian Bustard important?

The GIB is one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet. It is one of the critically endangered species in India with its number as low as 150 in the wild. In a report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2019, MoEFCC has informed that high voltage power lines are the current threat to its population. The collision of GIB with high voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires had become one of the latest threats that is causing unsustainably high mortality in about 15% of their population.

Learn about the characteristics and conservation of the Great Indian Bustard in the linked article.

Challenges of Using Bird Diverters

There are a few challenges of installing bird diverters:

  1. Cost – The installation and the recurring cost of the bird diverters are said to be expensive setup.
  2. Small birds find it easier to change their path while locating the bird diverters. Large and heavy birds can still find it difficult to change their path. For example, GIBs are heavy flying birds with a limited frontal vision which could make it difficult for them to shift their path swiftly.

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What is the Supreme Court’s take on bird diverters?

The Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde has intervened to save the Great Indian Bustard from this present threat.

The examination will take place to understand if the overhead running transmission lines can be replaced with underground power lines. The Attorney General of India (AGI) has informed the court that only low voltage power lines can be replaced with underground cables.

Also, the Supreme Court has found out that the cost of bird diverters installation is more than the installation and maintenance of the underground power cables.

The case hearing is on but for now, the apex court, for now, has suggested using a middle path to save GIB. It has suggested installing bird diverters on high voltage power transmission lines and replacing the low voltage cables with underground cables.

Candidates are suggested to stay updated with the current affairs related to bird diverters and more from the linked article.

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