Monday, November 26, 2012

Bird Safe Power Poles

Adult Eagles on Perch
This post is about a group inspired by the electrocution of eaglet D12 in the summer of 2012. The Memorial for D12 Facebook Group/The Raptor Nation worked with Alliant Energy, Puget Sound Energy, Decorah
 High School, and Decorah Building Supply to make and install safe perches at the hatchery. In their own words: 

"After the death of Decorah Eaglet D12 by electrocution, D12 Memorial Facebook Group/The Raptor Nation member Ruth Mitchell came up with an idea. Her vision was to build perches to make the electric poles in the hatchery area safer for the Decorah Eagles. Becky Burland agreed to explore the possibility and do the footwork in Decorah.

From the beginning, Alliant Energy's Shawna Sailor was very interested in the project. She realized the magnitude of the loss of D12 as the first known tragedy at the DE nest. Shawna and Alliant engineer Dennis Dye worked diligently to learn about perches and Alliant's ability to use them along with their existing equipment.

Mel Walters of Puget Sound Energy was instrumental in educating us about perches and how Alliant might design a perch to meet their specifications. Puget Sound Energy is a leader in the industry in making electricity safer for raptors and other wildlife. Mel explained that they have 1000 eagle nests in their area and they are always working to increase safety for the area raptors. Along with perches, they also use bird guards and perching deterrent strategies. We were lucky to have Mel share his experience and knowledge with us.

Part of Ruth Mitchell's vision was to have local students build the perches. It was hard to imagine Alliant allowing students to be a part of this specialized collaboration, but Becky talked with John Condon, the Industrial Tech teacher at Decorah High School. He was excited to participate in a project that would help teach students the basics of reading a blueprint and executing its construction. John was also confident that the students could meet Alliant's quality assurance expectations. A previous class made the eagle bike rack that was installed at the hatchery in 2012.

Representatives of Alliant Energy, Decorah High School and The Raptor Nation met recently to finalize the Perch Project. Alliant Energy is donating all the hardware and installation labor, Decorah High School students are donating the labor of building twenty perches, and Decorah Building Supply donated 50% of the lumber needed for the perches.

John Condon of Decorah High School reports the class will start building the perches sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Alliant will install seven perches on the hatchery poles that Bob Anderson of the Raptor Resource Project identified as most important for protection. They will use the other thirteen perches as popular bird poles are identified."

The Raptor Resource Project thanks The Raptor Nation/D12 Memorial Facebook Group, Alliant Energy, Puget Sound Energy, Decorah High School, and Decorah Building Supply for their hard work on behalf of the Decorah Eagles. We'll keep you posted on the installation. Follow the link below for a look at the perch blueprint.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68092929@N03/8203641600/

8 comments:

sdrose24 said...

Bob and everyone at RRP, I am so sorry to hear of the death of D14. D14’s death prompted me to read an article titled “Protecting Birds From Electrocution” by Bill Atkinson.

I was shocked to read of the number of birds, squirrels, etc that have been killed in the USA due to the current design of power poles.

I hope a lot more can be done, by the power companies, to protect these animals.

Penny Moser said...

I am in consolable. This is a fixable problem a long time in the fixing. It is the old "we put a man on the moon...we ought to be able to keep our wildlife safe from our needs."
I would donate, help...whatever it takes to get this done. The mood if our country needs these kind of endeavors right now.

Penny Moser said...

Sorry for typos in first post. Am new at this and was crying a little.

Warren Discon said...

I'm still wondering why nobody has thought to put the upper crossbar (perch) PARALLEL to the wires instead of perpendicular to them. If the birds are going to fly in and out trying to land and take off from these perches with their wings extended, would it not be safer for their wings to be able to only touch 1 phase of the electrical wires instead of creating a direct short (with the bird in the middle) between 2 phases, causing electrocution? Seems like a simple enough idea to turn the perch 90 degrees from it's current configuration, to avoid direct wing contact between 2 wires at the same time.

SHERRYA said...

So glad to hear that somebody is doing something about this because I was there the day that D12 was electrocuted (fortunately did not know it had happened) and then to hear about D14 (my favorite). They certainly are like our family when we've seen them be born, hatched, grow up, and fledge from the nest. RIP D12 & D14. You will forever be in my heart.

Aaron Carter said...

I have seen a lot more bird safe power poles. Some of them are disguised as trees. So that's even more appealing to birds.

Aaron Carter | http://www.eaglehire.com/poles.html

Lance Tankmen said...

How much time and effort does it take to install the power poles? I hope that the installation is going well. It's a really good thing that you guys are doing. http://www.eaglehire.com/poles.html

Lance Tankmen said...

How much time and effort does it take to install the power poles? I hope that the installation is going well. It's a really good thing that you guys are doing. http://www.eaglehire.com/poles.html