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Company Builds Platforms To Keep Birds Off Power Lines

A Martinsville company is expanding a program aimed to reduce the number of birds that die each year because of power lines.

South Central Indiana Rural Electric Membership Corporation or SCI REMC recently finished building a third eagle platform in the region.

The perches and platforms are designed to attract birds of prey such as bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. They are typically located near rivers or other hunting grounds and are built above other trees to make them more attractive to birds.

No eagles have been killed by the lines. But Randy Brumfield, right of way specialist for SCI REMC’s Vegetation Management Department, says the bald eagle population is growing in the state and the hope is the fledglings will build their nests on the new platforms.

“We haven’t had any eagles nest there yet, but we have had some owl activity and we do have three kestrel nests that are being utilized at this point,” he says.

SCI REMC has built several structures in Bradford Woods in Martinsville. The wood’s director Shay Dawson says they plan on putting in more perches soon.

“We’re looking to do more and more as we kind of bring back natural habitat habitat on the property over the 2400 acres, and we’d also like to continue to build the bird perches and the REMC program into our environmental education program so we can teach kids about it,” Dawson says.

National Fish and Wildlife Services Biologist Bob Russell says his department encourages electric companies to do anything they can to minimize the negative impact they have on birds.

“They’d like to avoid what they call any take of eagles, which could get them in trouble,” he says.

Eagles are no longer endangered, but they are still protected by federal law. Electric companies are required to report any birds killed by their lines to the state. SCI REMC reported three fatalities in the past two years—one great horned owl and two red-tailed hawks.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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