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Power cuts as confused swans fly to their deaths

Swans

WHILE the flood waters are beginning to subside across Fermanagh it is our feathered friends who appear to be suffering most this winter. 
Around sixty households were left without power last week after poor swans, disorientated by the flood waters, flew into electricity cables on three different days last week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 
The homes affected were in the Kinmore, Innishrooske, Drumcrin, Cleenriss and Inishcollan areas of Lisnaskea. 
Councillor for the area, Victor Warrington, said the many swans in the area were swimming around in flooded fields. 
“They obviously think it’s an extended lake. What’s happening is they are flying into the electric cables,” said Cllr Warrington, who has contacted both NIE Networks and the USPCA about the situation. 
“As well as the fact that when they fly into them they’re dying, also they have knocked the electricity off. 
“I saw it myself, the swans were all swimming about merrily in the field, though they didn’t know it was a field.
“It’s probably down to a situation where the poor things are confused,” Mr Warrington added.
A spokesman for the USPCA said the issue was a persistent problem in Fermanagh, as well as elsewhere in the Ards peninsula and around the lower Bann. They said they would be raising the issue with NIE Networks. 
Confirming the three blackouts last week, a spokesman for NIE said:  “These power cuts are caused by birds hitting the lines. 
“This is an unusual situation whereby swans are moving further inland to feed and their normal flight paths have to change as the fields around the lake and the power lines are flooded.
“In other areas we have been able to use ‘bird diverters’ – reflectors which hang from lines and make them more visible – to prevent birds striking the lines. 
“Unfortunately, at present we are unable to take heavy machinery close enough to the lines to be able to fit these devices as the ground is too wet. However, this is a course of action we will be considering when the flood waters recede.” 
 

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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