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Partnerships Protect Bald Eagles near Chicago
Midwest Region, June 5, 2012
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Workers prepare to install a bird diverter to protect bald eagles.
Workers prepare to install a bird diverter to protect bald eagles. - Photo Credit: ComEd
A helicopter is used to install bird diverters on power lines near a bald eagle nest site in Chicago.
A helicopter is used to install bird diverters on power lines near a bald eagle nest site in Chicago. - Photo Credit: ComEd
Sara Race of ComEd and USFWS biologist Cathy Pollack on site as diverters are being installed.
Sara Race of ComEd and USFWS biologist Cathy Pollack on site as diverters are being installed. - Photo Credit: ComEd

The Service's Rock Island and Chicago field offices, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and Commonwealth Edison partnered last week in an effort to protect bald eagles at Tampier Slough Woods, a Forest Preserve property.

A high-voltage power line transects Tampier Slough Woods, which is also home to a nesting pair of bald eagles. Due to the location of the line in relation to the nest, all parties involved were concerned for the nesting eagles and their offspring. The group feared the eagles, especially young eagles, would not be able to avoid the small static wires. The static wire bleeds lightning surges off the power lines during a storm. Without a static wire, lightning-induced voltages would build up on the power line conductors and cause damage. The lines carrying electricity below the static wires were large enough in diameter for birds to detect while flying. ComEd worked with the Service to design a plan to ensure the long-term viability of this nesting location. ComEd proactively implemented a strategy to reduce the risks of eagles colliding with the line by installing bird diverters onto the line. Bird diverters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, but they all serve the same function of making the line more visible to birds. Two helicopters were used to install the diverters. The installation was a success, and the eagles at Tampier Slough should now be able to safely avoid the line.

The simple fact that bald eagles are nesting so close to the City of Chicago speaks volumes for the conservation efforts taking place in Cook County, as well as the value local residents place on wildlife. The Endangered Species Act brought bald eagles back from the brink of extinction, and the efforts of the Service and its partners continue to aide bald eagles in their recovery.


Contact Info: Drew Becker, 309-757-5800 ext. 216, drew_becker@fws.gov



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