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Bird-killing power lines inspiration for gruesome display

LIGHT 3, an exhibition of the decaying bodies of birds electrocuted by power lines, is oddly a call to arms for bird lovers. The exhibit's driving force, Czech ornithologist Pavel Křížek, says he wants to change the way power lines are being built across Europe, to stop them killing ever larger species of birds.

First installed at the Prague National Museum, the exhibit quickly became the most controversial and most visited exhibition in the museum's history. Now it has moved to Bratislava, and until June 2, visitors can peer into 20 glass boxes containing the corpses or body parts of electrocuted birds. An accompanying video brings the pictures to life.

Slovak ornithologist Michal Noga says birds are being threatened by power lines carrying 22kV of electricity, and which are strung close together. If a bird lands on two such lines at the same time, the current either kills it or burns its wings and legs. The affected parts then slowly mortify, leaving the bird to die in great pain.

"When I found out about this murderous construction, I went to check the first kilometre of the power lines in [west Slovakia's] Stupava. I found three European buzzards, two herons and one eagle owl under 10 poles. I repeat, under 10 poles. And there are 210,000 such poles in Slovakia," says Noga.

The exhibition was organised under the auspices of the Environment Ministry.

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