Sunday, March 08, 2015

Decorah Eaglet Four Electrocuted

We are sorry to announce that Four, the single remaining bird from the 2014 Decorah alumni to remain in the wild, was electrocuted on Tuesday, March 2nd. This is the fourth eaglet from Decorah that we know of to die from electrocution. Bob and a good friend picked her carcass up on Thursday after the Eagle Valley team notified us that they received a mortality ping. Bob and Brett examined her on Saturday and verified the cause of death.

Bob found her lying underneath a utility pole. He took photographs and sent them to a consultant, who told us the pole was unsafe and made suggestions to improve the safety of this pole and other poles in the area. We brought them forward to Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Light and are waiting for a response from them.

Why do the eaglets keep perching on power poles? Bob theorizes there is a behavior difference between urban and rural eagles. Rural eagles are programmed to perch in trees because that is what they have available. But urban eagles, including our beloved Decorah family, are exposed to power poles and other man-made structures from the beginning. There are vast amounts of power poles serving our needs.  With eagles beginning to nest in close proximity to man - something new for both species - he believes electrocution will be an increasing concern for urban-fledged eagles and utility companies.

What can you do?

  • Find out whether your utility has an avian protection plan. If they don't, they should consider adopting one. An APP helps keep animals, equipment, and people safe. http://www.aplic.org/APPs.php
  • Report electrocuted birds and other animals to your power company. Electrocutions are deadly to animals, harmful to equipment, and potentially dangerous to human beings. 
  • Report collisions to your power company. While our eagles have been electrocuted perching on poles, collisions are also deadly. Swan diverters and other deterrents can be installed.
  • If you are a member of an electric cooperative, make your concerns known to the board. I know of at least one electric cooperative in the process of retrofitting all their poles are safe. Electrocutions destroy equipment, require unscheduled repair time, and are expensive. 

We will continue our work with the electric distribution industry to address this issue and are researching deterrents for the poles near the nest and elsewhere.

Bob with Four


60 comments:

gl423 said...

Bob,
So sorry for your loss. You have worked to hard to try and protect our Decorah eagles.
Also our sympathies to all that work with you in this endeavor. Thank you so much.

Karen Cotter said...

Bob - I am heartbroken - could hardly believe this - I've followed this site for 3 years & have become unscientifically attached. Between plenty of food available for this nest and man's interventions every egg hatched is a roll of the dice.

kimcris said...

So sorry to hear about Four. We had the pleasure and the honor to see her in Aug in Decorah and have many pictures of her. We will treasure those pictures and the memories of seeing her fly. She is now flying free with the other Decorah eagles.

debobadams said...

Thank you Bob for your dedication to RPR and for trying to protect the eagles we have come to love. It feels like losing a family pet even though we know we cannot control what happens in the wild.

Mag Kyt said...

I am totally heartbroken over this. They try So Hard to survive & something like this ( man made) kills them. :(

Breeze Boreal said...

I am finding no words except to say I am sorry... so very sorry for each of us who love these precious eagles. I am thankful, too, for all who continue to make this a better, safer world for all our wildlife.
Respect and much love to RRP ♥ Soar free noble Four.

Cindy Piacente said...

My sadness takes over my heart. Thinking of all of you, and as always, my special thanks to Amie.
Cindy Piacente

nancy barrett said...

Bob, nature is cruel but you will carry on. The fight is not over but it will be long, difficult and not always happy endings. My thoughts are with you and wish you happiness and peace

Nan Carol Manley said...

I am so sorry for this loss in our RRP world. Hugs to everyone and a big hug to Bob A for being there for her in the end. Soar high little girl.

Marilyn Foster said...

I remember not long ago this happening to another eaglet. When I saw this again today. I decided to do something about it. I have a Home and Garden Website where I wrote my take on the story and helping to spread awareness as to what is happening to this majestic bird.Here is the link for your convenience. http://marilynswayhomegarden.com/bald-eagle-electrocuted/

Thank you Bob Anderson in all you do to protect our national bird. I hope story comes across as how important it is to be an American Citizen and how we have the best avenues to get things like this solved for our National Bird.
Sincerely,
Marilyn Foster

Just said...

wish there was a way to keep them from being electrocuted ..but nature can be cruel sometimes i feel bad it keeps happening :(

triste said...

I am so sorry, Bob. My eyes are filled with tears but my heart is filled with commitment and the power companies must help protect our symbol of freedom.

CareWolf said...

I just heard. I am heartbroken as I know all of you are. But Bob worked so hard last year to help Four - there are no words.

Bev Beaty said...

I have been a fan of the Decorah eagle site for several years. Each eaglet has a personal attachment for me and each time I hear of one expiring one way or another, my heart breaks. May she soar high! God bless you Bob. You have a special place in heaven.
Sincerely. Bev Beaty

sdrose24 said...

Bob, I'm so very sorry to hear that another beautiful eagle has been lost to electrocution. I thought that the problems with the electrical poles had been resolved. This is very distressing news. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

Califa said...

Such a heart wrenching loss but the only cure here is to make these poles safe. I know that you've worked hard for that and hopefully watchers across the country are doing the same. We know that repairs run slow but these eaglets can't wait for that.

Thank you Bob and staff for all you do. As painful as this is for us, we know that it hurts even more for you.

CarolOverland said...

Do they have an eagle take permit for that transmission line?

kathy brown said...

I am so heartbroken over hearing about four. she was beautiful and thinking that all utility poles should be safe for any bird to land on not just eagles. So sad to hear about four.

Thylacine22 said...

There are so many of the Rural Electrical poles that have never been upfitted/retrofitted for Raptor Safety. Priority should be old poles near known nesting areas, and we all can help by taking photos of suspect poles, and calling our local Electric Co.'s and evaluating what retroactive plans they have in place. We all have to help protect the creatures that we impact adversely, and make our shared World a safer place. Thank You, Thyla

Thylacine22 said...

As an adjunct to what I already wrote: I'm so Sad that this happened again- ..Surely a big call to action, and we know what we have to do (again and still)... :-[ It's not like the Decorah community didn't band together to try to address the dangerous electrical poles in the area. The Electrical Co. worked with both RRP and the local High School shop classes to Upfit/Retrofit the Rural poles with improved safety devices, and the pole perches the HS made. Clearly there are LOTS of rural poles that need attention. The "newer designs" are generally not the big problem.

Rose said...

So sorry to hear this terrible news. Thank you Bob Anderson and staff of RRP for all you do. Thanks for being there for Four. Praying for a successful hatch season in a couple weeks.

linda said...

I guess i am not sure what i can do to help prevent this. It is tragic and yet a thing of nature. Can you give me some suggestion of what I might do, whom I can contact, etc? Thanks.

Debbie said...

I, along with the eagle community are saddened by the loss of Four. She overcame so much in her early life. I choose to think of her soaring the skies with her brother.

Annalee Snizek said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. It just breaks my heart. I want to go and in person really chew out Alliant Energy and ask them why? I have contacted them in my area and they have reassured me that their poles are safe for birds. I wish they would make it a priority to have "all" their poles safe. But I know, they are not the only electric company. It is going to take us all to get on them. RRP and all involved are in my prayers along with all Raptors. (Shedding tears)

CareWolf said...

I am so glad that Four had a transmitter. It allowed Bob and Friends to rescue Four and Indy may times-and in the end he retrieved her in his loving arms. I know she looked down from her perch at the Rainbow Bridge and saw She was being carried by the man who loved her so much-and that is very very good. I wish she could be buried in Decorah-her home.

Lisa Livingston said...


When I learn about Four my heart stopped. This beautiful young eagle should be soaring. Thank you, Bob and colleagues, for all the love, care and attention you give the wonderful Decorah eagles and other raptors. It is up to all of us to help Bob and RRP and contact our energy companies to ask for them to retro fit the poles. If we follow up with the energy companies the shortened lives of the juvies will not be in vain.

Becky Palmer said...

Such tragic news. I am so sorry for your great loss.

mamadoxie said...

My heart feels the pain I see on Bob's face. What a terrible week for him and for all the RRP folks. We appreciate all you do and we mourn the loss of our FOUR with you.

Cherie Swatek Fedder said...

I am heartbroken over the loss of Four. She was always my favorite. Such a little fighter! I will truly miss you my Sissy girl, and my love for you will soar as high as you can to meet your angels. Soar high my darling!

Teri Aurora said...

So very sorry to read about Four. She was the first eaglet that I saw fledge and, as such, held a special place in my heart. Thanks, Bob, for all you do.

Barbara OConnor said...

My heart is broken knowing that our 'Four' was electrocuted. So sorry Bob, and all who work to keep the eagles safe from harm. I know you will forge on, these birds feel like family to us.

Mike Bateman said...

So sorry for the loss of Four. We (my co-workers & I in Ft. Worth, Texas)named the 3 eaglets Bully, Junior & 3. We actually watched 3 burst into our world!!! We watched them until they fledged and are currently watching the new 3 eggs daily.
Thank you for all you are doing, raising awareness for all of us.
again, sorry for your loss, our loss.

Me Jane said...

Still drying tears today about Four. Our wild creatures have a very tough life.

Beckie Mortenson said...

My eyes filled with tears reading about out D4. Just could not believe this terrible news. I'm very grateful and happy that Bob found her and was with her @ the end. Thank you Bob for your love for these majestic eagles. Hope this problem ends now for our future eaglets. Soar high D4 as high as you can, will always love you!

Beckie Mortenson said...

not only does this sadden me greatly but also the sadness in Bob's face. So many love D19 now D4. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures and videos from Robin B.
The stories made us feel like we were there as well. Will miss you, but always remember you, D4.

gwag1 said...

Utility poles with transformers are the most dangerous for birds. When I worked for a utility company reading meters during the summers, I would often encounter birds and sometimes cats and squirrels who had been electrocuted. If a bird lands on just one of the cables coming out of a transformer, it is not harmed. But if it contacts both, the circuit is complete and electrocution takes place. The simple fix is a rubber boot that covers one of the cables coming out of the transformer. Then, even if the animal contacts both sides, it is not harmed. I would hope the local utility companies would use more of these inexpensive devises to protect these beautiful creatures.

John Wilson said...

I feel as if I have lost a friend. Such a shame. I know that this is heartbreaking for all involved. Please continue to do the work that you do to preserve these remarkable creatures.

Sally Friedli said...

I am so sad. Can't believe Four is gone.Loved watching her grow up and learn to fend for herself. It is just a very sad day. Thank you, Bob, for all you do for these beautiful eagles. I know your heart is just broken.

kathleen henson said...

This is so sad for all the "Decorah" family. I will keep all of you in my prayers, especially Bob who works so hard and his dedication is unmatched. I have been following these beautiful eagles since the first cameras were installed. Each death makes me feel as though I lost a friend. My sympathies to all that consider themselves FOUR'S FRIEND... Kathleen

Sandy Hollingsworth said...

Oh my Goodness.. So Sorry Bob. This is like loosing a family member, we Loved Sore so much..Fly Free Sore Fly Free now.. You will be so missed.

Brenda Faughender said...

Thank you Bob. I know how much you loved that Eagle. It breaks my heart that you were the one who found her but I am also glad it was you because you were close to her. Thank you for your dedication to RPR and for doing what you can to help the Eagles. My heart breaks as I know yours is just broken again by all of this.
B. Faughender

Colleen Rentis said...

When I read this last night I broke out into tears and could not comment. I get attached to these beautiful Bald Eagles like they were my own pet. It rips me wide open knowing once again these beautiful raptors once again die from electrocution. WHY is this happening when adjustments can be made to protect our raptors from dying like this. We have federals laws in effect that protect them from man in some ways, why are these laws not pertaining to the private corporations? I will be talking with San Diego Gas & Electric about these Swan Retrofits to make sure they are on all the poles to protect our raptors. I do know they have many poles fitted but not all. Again, my heart goes out to you Bob and RPR for your dedication to this eagles. God bless you four...Fly free and high with your sister/brother up there in heaven.

JodyK said...

I am so very sorry for everyone of us who is in the Decorah Family. I have had the pleasure to watch these eagles from getting the nest ready to watching the eaglets fledge. It is funny how we all get SO attached to these Eagles and their offspring. it is heartbreaking to say the least. Fly High Four

Lois A said...

We love you Bob Anderson and know we all cried with you once again.....For all you do- you are a hero...thank you so much ....
Robin, your pictures are wonderful and has given us such joy....thank you.
We have 3 more starting.....I am praying for their safety..thanks to all who work to make that happen...

Danielle D said...

could that long antenna on its back have something to do with the electrocution?

Diana Hess said...

so very sorry...this is a very sad thing to happen to such an amazing bird...something has to change

Carol Bowen said...

So very sorry to read about Four..I do hope that something will happen to prevent this...Bob, you and your staff work so hard to make a good environment for the eagles and I know it takes a big toll on you when this happens Thank you so much for all the efforts on their behalf

Mom W said...

I am so sorry to hear about brave Four. She unknowingly gave us hope and enjoyment watching her spirit and growing up antics. Thank you Bob and your staff for allowing us to peak into this world. Now Four and her brother can sail on the winds together once more.

th acsi said...

Desole de cette perte

Vick Clouse said...

I'm so sorry she's gone Mr Bob...I know how hard you all work to keep this privileged site up for all of us that can't live close to an Eagle nesting site.

As a side note, no wonder I was so distressed on March 2,2015...
Signed Clouddancer3107

Vick Clouse said...

One suggestion for the power company. In Florida they have built nesting platforms big enough for all the raptors, including the Eagles. Maybe this would be a solution.

Joe Seman said...

so sad to hear of the loss of four,,, we watch them from their birth and fledging,,, now all are gone from that nest,of 2014....hope the electric company in the area with do something to prevent this happening again to the Eagles,,,,

Leah said...

Just heartbreaking. All that loving care raising those babies ending in such deaths.

KK Williams said...

Is it too simple to attach resin birds atop these utility poles to deter other birds from perching? Certainly this is more cost effective than repairing/replacing damaged utility poles and the inconvenience of disruption in service.

Ed said...

I am so sad to hear this news… already compounding what happened to the other two juvies… I can see the pain in your eyes as you hold this beautiful bird in your arms. I hope the electricity providers and do something to avert more of these silent, almost invisible enemies of our National treasure!

ed

Terri Hanson said...

Bob, So so sorry for your loss. This is a sad event to be sure. Every loss of a beautiful eagle or any other wildlife is like a knock-out punch. I'm praying for a quick solution to this problem. Aloha.

Miss Ellie said...

I'm always so excited each year when the eagles come back to nest. I have my Decorah eagles up on my second monitor all day long, catching all the activity out of the corner of my eye. I feel bonded to each majestic bird and my heart sinks each time I hear of such a tragic ending. Blessings to you who continue bringing their lives closer to ours.

Maryanne Salera said...

I remember watching when D1-3 fledge didn't one them have the same fate? That was the most exciting nesting that year. My first one watching I was clued to the computer everyday for months, it's so sad to see this happen to these birds.

Gloria said...

So anxious to hear about the utility's response to you Bob. These birds are too precious to lose in a way that can be avoided. Heartbroken. . .

Robin Hemperly said...

Bob, my heart is broken again ! I can't believe we have lost another one of our beloved birds. They become like family to those of us who watch them each year, this will be my 4th year. What can we do to help persuade the electric company to update the poles ASAP. I know they react very quickly when notified, and I by no means would ever suggest we beat up on them, but we have lost to many birds in the last two years this way. I am so sorry for your (and our) loss. I am just so heartbroken. Sour high and fly free Four !