Image: A man mounts a stop for birds on a power grid in this undated picture taken in Germany
Ho  /  AFP - Getty Images
A man mounts a stop for birds on a power grid in this undated picture taken in Germany.
msnbc.com
updated 11/26/2011 4:21:51 AM ET 2011-11-26T09:21:51

Tens of millions of flamingos, storks, pelicans and other migratory birds are being killed across the world when they fly into power lines, according to a new study.

The AFP news agency reported that wildfires had been caused in dry areas of the United States and Eastern Europe by birds hitting power lines, then falling to the ground in flames.

The study was published at Convention on Migratory Species in Bergen, Norway, according the news agency.

Tens of millions of birds are killed in collisions and hundreds of thousands are electrocuted in Africa and Eurasia, the study said.

Dutch ornithologist Hein Prinsen, who took part in the study, told AFP that "collision and electrocution are among the most important human-related causes for bird mortality," along with hunting.

Solution needed
There are about 43 million miles of power lines in the world, the news agency reported.

"Today, Eastern Europe is a hot spot for problems, for great bustards and birds of prey for example," John O'Sullivan, an ex-member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told AFP.

"But the worst situation may well be soon to be found in India and Africa where vast amounts of power lines are being built and where there are very large populations of birds," he added.

O'Sullivan said it "completely makes sense" to try to solve the problem because power outages resulting from collisions had a "high costs for society."

AFP said that 12 percent of blue cranes died annually after flying into power lines in South Africa. The blue crane is that country's national bird.

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