Raptor Nest Management on Power Lines

R.E. Harness (USA)


Birds, nesting, power lines, artificial nest platforms, stick deflectors, nest relocation


Although nesting on power line structures has benefited some raptor species, line operational problems have occurred, and utilities have implemented labor-intensive methods to combat bird nesting on their lines. Historically, methods have typically included direct nest removal and trimming of nesting materials. This approach often has been unsuccessful, and a number of utilities have ultimately concluded that accommodating bird nests is a more sound approach. Managing where raptors nest on utility structures has not only solved many operational problems, but it also has resulted in positive publicity for many line operators. There also are a variety of stick deflectors that can be used to discourage nesting. In distribution construction, engineered single crossarms are preferred over double arms at potential nesting areas. A successful nest management program includes plans to make nearby lines raptor safe from electrocutions. The combination of providing nests with bird-friendly utility configurations can result in electric facilities enhancing wild raptor populations without impacting power reliability.

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