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When birds collide with high-speed rail

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January 24, 2018  read full article here
 …The development of high-speed rail poses new ecological challenges. The thousands of kilometers of railways with trains operating at speeds of more than 155 mph can generate unwanted effects, such as the mortality of , a fact that until now had not been analyzed or quantified.

A study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, has developed a new methodology to study the impact of high-speed trains on birds. For this purpose, a video system was installed in the cabins of locomotives during more than 8,700 miles of circulation at speeds of 155-185 mph….

…The video record also confirms that the birds generally react at a distance of 200 to 445 feet of the train, so the train´s speed leaves them little time to escape. “As a result, a small fraction of the birds that can be seen from the front of a train end up dying,” he adds.

To reduce collisions with birds, the research team will seek methods to repel birds from infrastructure elements, and develop systems that decrease the frequency with which animals fly through the risk areas. The latter is a specific objective of the LIFE + Zero Impact project.

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More information: Eladio L. García de la Morena et al. On-Board Video Recording Unravels Bird Behavior and Mortality Produced by High-Speed Trains, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (2017). DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00117

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