Fence Mitigation Project

         Blue Crane        
  Photo: Don Reid

Many birds are killed each year when they collide with fences. Often these species are also of conservation concern, for example the Secretarybird and Blue Crane. It seems as if owls are also susceptible to get stuck in fences. BirdLife South Africa has initiated a project to determine the extent of the problem in South Africa. Some of the questions that need answers are:

  • Which bird species are killed through collisions with fences in South Africa?
  • Why do these species collide with fences? The reason might be linked to their behaviour; for example, low flying species will be more affected than soaring birds.
  • What type of fences poses the biggest risk to birds? Anecdotal evidence and studies suggest that barbed wire fences are the biggest problem, but this needs to be confirmed.
  • What environmental factors contribute to collision with fences? For example, the fence might not be visible due to plant growth near the fence, the topography might be an issue, or the type of habitat near the fence may be correlated with fence mortalities (for example a fence over a wetland might be more of a risk than one near a homestead).

We therefore request observers to submit sightings of birds killed in fences. Historical records can also be submitted. The data can be submitted through the form below or the details can be emailed to Ernst Retief (ernst.retief@birdlife.org.za).

Your support for this very important conservation project will assist BirdLife South Africa ultimately publish a best-practice document to reduce bird mortality on fences.


Birds Fence Mitigation Data Form

If you have a photo of the bird in the fence it can also be submitted below. If not please provide us with as much detail as possible. Even if it is a sighting of many years ago, please submit the data.


Thank you for submitting your data. Please press submit below after entering the text in the image below.