Bollards and Fence Posts with Open Tops Have Led to Bird Entrapment and Mortality

Image for Bollards and Fence Posts with Open Tops Have Led to Bird Entrapment and Mortality

Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM (LANL)

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Biological Safety, Environmental Protection

A field worker heard frantic flapping noises emanating from a protective bollard around a well. Although the worker was unable to lift the 6-foot metal bollard from the ground, a mirror was positioned to look inside the opening at the top. The flapping noise was from a small bird, which was stuck at the bottom of the 4-inch diameter bollard and unable to spread its wings to fly out. The field team constructed a wire platform for the bird and slowly fished the bird out of the bollard. Upon release, the bird flew away into the canyon.

Lessons Learned: Open bollards, open pipes used as fence posts, and open vent tubes, all pose threats to migratory birds which may see these openings as possible nesting sites and perish when they are unable to fly or crawl out. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, causing migratory bird mortalities (including eggs in active nests) is a federal offense that can result in criminal prosecution for both the organization and the individual. Organizations should consider if work procedures can be updated to require any bollards or open pipe fence posts to be covered when installed; workers should stop work if their work may impact a migratory bird or an active nest and report any issues that endanger migratory birds (or other wildlife) to management.

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