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Central Wisconsin is home to endangered trumpeter swans - including several nesting pairs. Unfortunately, power lines are one of the swan's biggest threats, killing or injuring dozens of birds each year. These birds can fly between 40-80 miles per hour and are very susceptible to collisions with power lines and other wires, especially when they migrate.
However, this hazard can be significantly reduced with the use of bird diverters – devices attached to power lines to make them more visible to birds in flight. Wetland areas, migration patterns and known nesting areas are considered when choosing where these diverters are needed most.
Typical bird diverters alternate colors – fluorescent yellow and fluorescent orange. The birds are able to contrast them to background colors, such as green trees and blue sky. Some models also use glow in the dark natural crystals that absorb and emit purple ultraviolet light visible to birds as violet, but that looks white to humans.
Alliant Energy first began using bird diverters in 2004, installing 200 of them across marshes in the Wisconsin Rapids area in central Wisconsin. In 2010 we replaced about 100 of them because they were wearing out. We also placed another 20 on a line that crosses the Wisconsin River south of Wisconsin Rapids. Protecting the Trumpeter Swans was the driving force for locating them in those areas.
Visit these informative sites to learn more about trumpeter swans: