Main content area

Bird Casualties on European Roads — A Review

Erritzoe, Johannes, Mazgajski, Tomasz D., Rejt, Łukasz
Acta ornithologica 2003 v.38 no.2 pp. 77-93
Corvidae, Hirundo rustica, age structure, birds, breeding, death, geographical variation, mortality, roads, species diversity, traffic, wild animals, Eastern European region, Europe
Road traffic affects the natural environment in numerous ways. The most striking of these is the death of wild animals and birds as a result of collisions with moving vehicles. In this paper the available data on bird mortality on roads are reviewed. Estimates of annual mortality for some European countries (350 000 to 27 million birds), the monthly distribution of casualties, their distribution among sex and age classes, as well as the methods used in the study of this problem are presented. The species composition of birds killed in this way is compared for several countries. In western Europe sparrows and Blackbirds are the species that most frequently die on the roads, but in Central and Eastern Europe not only sparrows but also corvids and Barn Swallows make up a high proportion of the victims. Analysis of the monthly distribution of casualties in 10 species shows this to differ between countries, probably because of the geographic variation of certain aspects of their biology (migration, breeding etc.). Several factors affecting the frequency of casualties are discussed, and some suggestions for the prevention of bird casualties are also given.