The Moore Charitable Foundation
Energy Siting Resource Library

Nesting of Breeding Birds on an Electric Utility Line Right-of-Way

This paper reports the findings of a 1991-1992 nesting study made on breeding birds on an electric transmission line right-of-way (ROW) in the Allegheny Mountain Range in Pennsylvania, U.S. The author compared nesting success among segments of the ROW that were maintained with herbicides, by hand cutting the vegetation, and by a combination of mowing and herbicide. In general all ROW segments provided favorable nesting habitat, and the differences among segments were most likely explained by the distribution of desirable shrubs for nesting. A large majority of the nests were found in shrub cover, and a smaller number were in grass-forb cover and in tree sprout cove. However, some bird species were especially reliant on these less common vegetation covers for their nests, illustrating the importance of preserving diverse plant cover in ROWs.

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