The Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary has partnered with EDM International Inc. and scientists from the Crane Trust to install and monitor Avian Collison Avoidance Systems (ACAS) on two power lines on the sanctuary. These near-ultraviolet light devices could help prevent hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and endangered Whooping Cranes from perishing to the lines.
The ACASs will provide nocturnal UV-A illumination of two power line spans crossing the Platte River on Rowe Sanctuary. The devices will produce around 8,000–9,000 lumens per light, depending on ambient temperature, but this will not appear bright to the human eye.
Amanda Hegg, Rowe Sanctuary’s conservation program associate, explained how unique this project is for her because “it involves new technology that takes advantage of a special adaptation of birds: the ability to see ultraviolet light.”
Previously, the 258-meter-long power lines on the sanctuary were affixed with glow-in-the-dark markers to increase their visibility. These diverters were the best technological options available, and reduced collisions on the sanctuary by 50%, but Audubon wanted to do more.
The ACASs will be installed on Rowe Sanctuary’s power lines on February 9, just in time for the arrival of roughly 500 thousand cranes. During this migration, the cranes stop to feed and rest along the central Platte River valley before making the long flight north to breed.
The ACASs will be carefully monitored each day during the 2021 crane season. If successful, the devices could prove to be a more cost-effective, long-term solution to an issue that has persisted for decades.
To learn more about this year’s crane season policies and programming, visit rowe.audubon.org/crane-viewing.