Sunday, March 08, 2015


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 utilit...y 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.
- 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 of their poles. 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.