Keeping Them Safe

It seems to me that to an eagle a wooden utility pole looks very much like a tall, skinny tree with nice, open limbs. They have no way of perceiving the potentially deadly electrical current passing through that “tree”.  As I have reported here, Dayton Power and Light, our local utility, The City of Dayton Water Department as well as our Eastwood Eagle Watchers group take this threat to the eagle’s safety very seriously. Jim and Cindy present DP&L with an issue that they have not dealt with before. Not only are the bare conductors a threat to the eagles, but should the unthinkable happen, the resulting electrical surge could cause a loss of electrical service, blown transformers, downed power lines and possibly fires. Any of which would lead to costly repairs. Previous efforts to discourage perching on the utility poles have met with limited success. The devices installed earlier this year discouraged the eagles from perching between the live conductors and therefore reduced the chances of the  bird contacting two conductors simultaneously which would have resulted in its electrocution. But unfortunately, the eagles continued perching atop the insulators. This presented a lesser threat, but if two eagles perched on adjacent insulators should contact a conductor and then touch each other we could lose both birds!

After reviewing the success of the installed avian protection devices it became obvious that trying to discourage perching on the poles was not the most prudent way to proceed. DP&L researched the options and purchased different plastic devices that cover the insulator and the first few feet of the conductor on either side of the pole, effectively insulating the insulator and the conductor. We further hope that these new devices may prove to be a less stable perch and thereby encourage the eagle to land elsewhere.

Yesterday I spent seven hours with the DP&L crews as they installed the new devices on over forty poles within the wellfield. My task was to assist them in concentrating their efforts on the poles most frequently visited by the eagles and the poles nearest the nest. A small army of men and trucks attacked the area in the coolness of the early morning and stayed at it well into the afternoon heat. Around 10 AM one of our adult eagles flew by inspecting the work and gave us two thumbs…er…wings up! We are hoping that this solves the problem and neutralizes the threat to our eagles.

The Eastwood Eagle Watchers would like to thank The Dayton Power and Light Company, their crews and the City of Dayton Water Department for their proactive actions. There are too many poles to protect them all but everyone involved is committed do doing everything possible to protect our Bald Eagles and to keep them safe.

Published in: on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm  Comments (10)  

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you DP&L and thank you eagle watchers for all you do.

  2. You are welcome Shane. They have struggled so hard to recover from near extinction. It is our pleasure to assist them when we can.

  3. I forgot to mention that I caught a glimpse of one this week while my wife was driving down Harshman. He or she was sitting up in the top of a bare tree by the river. I get giddy every time I catch a glimpse.

  4. Yes, a BIG Thank YOU! It was so hard to see D12’s life end by this kind of death and know how this Dayton pair has lost one of it’s brood in the recent past. With your help and the work of the DP&L, perhaps you have saved a number raptors from the same fate.

  5. I also want to thank you, EagleJim and all of the dedicated people who continue to protect these beautiful eagles.

  6. DP&L are to be commended for all their hard work to keep “our” eagles safe!!

  7. I will pass that on to those involved KeeKee.

  8. Thank you Polly. It is our pleasure to do what we can and to share the experience with everyone.

  9. You are welcome Peggy. Losing one eaglet is a great motivator and makes you realize how real the threat is.

  10. I know that giddy feeling well. I see them almost daily during certain times of the year. I have stood in the midst of Bald Eagles having them to my right, my left and in front of me. I have had a wild eagle fly just 30 feet over my head. And all of it within 3 miles of my house! Every experience brings that feeling, the thrill of seeing such a majestic creature in the wild. Even standing guard over a 90-day-old injured, bewildered eaglet the thrill was there in the midst of the sadness. They are simply amazing.

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