WWT Welney Wetlands Trust combines with UK Power Network in bid to ensure the safety of swans flying to Fenland for the winter

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying into power lines in East Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Archant

UK Power Networks is attempting to combat swans flying into power lines by trialling new ‘bird safe’ covered wires.

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying into power lines in East Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Archant

The company has teamed up with WWT Welney Wetland Centre, which expects to see thousands of swans migrate to Fenland this winter.

January is the peak month in which swans winter in the UK, but many swans have been injured or killed after flying into power lines in the past.

UK Power Networks has indentified sections of power line where covered wires would benefit the swans – including those over Welney.

Leigh Marshall, centre manager at WWT Welney, said: “Swans change the sites that they feed at throughout the winter season, as new sources of food become available.

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying

WWT Welney Wetland Centre and UK Power Networks have teamed up in a bid to prevent swans from flying into power lines in East Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Archant

“This in turn alters where they come in to roost, so the partnership between WWT Welney and UK Power Networks is of long-term importance, as the flight patterns of swans shift across our area.”

Kevin Pettit, who helps plan power line routes for UK Power Networks, said: “We work closely with WWT Welney to identify flight routes that are experiencing problems each season and install bird flight diverters to help prevent birds flying into power lines.

Most Read

“More bird flight diverters are being installed in priority areas this month. The latest bird diverters have spinning reflectors, with glow-in-the-dark panels, which makes them more visible for a time after dusk, when swans are more likely to collide with power lines.”

Over the coming weeks, the swans will be preparing for their spring migrations to Iceland and Artic Russia, spending more time on the wetlands feeding on aquatic plants.

• Visitors can watch the swans from the visitor centre and hides at WWT Welney, with commentated wild swan feeds running at 3.30pm daily, until Sunday March 12, shortly followed by the flight in at dusk.

Floodlit commentated wild swan feed take place at 6.30pm from Thursday to Sunday every week until Sunday February 26, while commentated wild bird feed take place at noon daily, until Sunday March 12.

Swan’s Awake mornings are to run on Saturday 11 and Wednesday February 15 from 6 to 9am, where visitors can watch the swans fly out from the reserve between dawn and sunrise. Admission is £10 per adult and £5 per child.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter