NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Cross-scale Changes in Bird Behavior Around a High Speed Railway: From Landscape Occupation to Infrastructure Use and Collision Risk

Publication TypeBook Section
Year of Publication2017
Book TitleRailway Ecology

Large-scale transportation infrastructures, such as high-speed railway (HSR) systems, cause changes in surrounding ecosystems, thus generating direct and indirect impacts on bird communities. Such impacts are rooted in the individual responses of birds to infrastructure components, such as habitat occupancy of railway proximities, the use of structural elements (e.g., perching or nesting sites), flights over the railway, and behavior towards approaching trains. In this chapter, we present the most important results of several studies that were carried out on bird communities, between 2011 and 2015 on a 22-km stretch of HSR built on an agrarian landscape in central Spain. Available data describe the abundance and spatial distribution of birds up to 1000 m from the railway, bird infrastructure use (e.g., embankments, catenaries), cross-flights of the railway obtained through focal sampling, and animal responses to approaching trains recorded from train cockpits. These data depict how bird species respond to the various scales to the presence of the HSR, and show how the infrastructure impacts bird communities, due to both habitat changes and increases in mortality risk.

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TagsSpain; Power Lines; Towers; Birds; 2017; Book Section