Conservation of threatened birds trough retrofitting of hazardous overhead powerlines in Natura 2000 sites in W Bulgaria (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000612)

© Svetoslav Spasov


Goal: The long-term aim is to preserve the breeding, wintering and migrating populations of threatened bird species by reducing unnatural mortality caused by electrical infrastructure. Some of the most adversely affected bird species have been identified as target species of the current project; these are the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris), the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), the Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), the Redbreasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), the Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), the Cinereous (Black) Vulture (Aegypius monachus), the Short-toed Snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus), the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus), the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), the Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga), the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus), the Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug), and the European Roller (Coracias garrulus).

Duration:   5 years, 01.10.2017 - 31.12.2022

Project sites: Natura 2000 sites: Nikopolsko Plato, Devetashko Plato, Kresna, Svishtovsko-Belenska Nizina, Mesta, Ribarnitsi Orsoya, Berkovitsa, Rayanovtsi, Palakaria, Vrachanski Balkan, Slavyanka, Obnova, Zapaden Balkan, Sredna Gora, Melnishki Piramidi, Rupite, Kompleks Belenski ostrovi, Zlatiata, Ponor.



Coordinating beneficiary: CEZ Distribution Bulgaria AD

Associated beneficiary: Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria




  • Identify the medium-voltage power lines inside and in immediate proximity to key Natura 2000 sites in Western Bulgaria posing the most serious hazard for wild birds (including target species).
  • Halt unnatural mortality among wild birds caused by electrocution on hazardous electricity pylons in priority areas in the project Natura 2000 sites and in key corridors between the SPAs.
  • Reduce unnatural mortality among wild birds caused by collision with overhead powerline cables in priority areas in the project Natura 2000 sites and in key corridors between the SPAs.
  • Secure safe nesting sites for the White Stork population in Western Bulgaria.
  • Increase the capacity for solving of conflicts between wild birds and overhead power lines across Bulgaria.
  • Increase public and stakeholder support in solving the conflict between wild birds and overhead power lines and promote mutual benefits for biodiversity and the people.

Expected results:

  • Established GIS data base and produced map with areas of potential conflict between the target species and the power distribution network in the Natura 2000 project sites and their neighboring areas;
  • 4,000 pin type pylons, 1,200 metal frame type pylons and 200 switch towers retrofitted and no electrocuted birds recorded in priority areas;
  • 120 km of areal conductors (40 km of triple power lines) in priority areas marked with “bird diverters” and bird-collision risks reduced by 90%
  • 900 White Stork nesting platforms installed on electric pylons and no cases of electrocution of storks or burnt nests recorded;
  • Bird-safe pylon standards for Bulgaria developed, 40 prototype pylons (20 pin-type and 20 metal frame type) produced and installed;
  • Increased public awareness and support as a result of White Stork public campaign and various communication events.


Financing: The total project budget is € 2,647,481, of which 75% are co-funded by the EU LIFE Programme and 25% of the project partners.