Ospreys tend to build their nests on the highest perch they can find near water. In some cases the highest perch will be transmission or distribution poles. This is a dangerous situation for both the ospreys and our customers. Due to the large wingspan of the osprey, if they spread their wings while perched on the nest, there is great potential for the wings to create a “hot” connection between the electrical wires resulting in the electrocution of the osprey and power outages.
Nests should be removed after the birds have abandoned the nest at the end of the nesting season unless the nest is located such that electrocution is likely to threaten the safety of the birds and a power outage is imminent. If there are eggs in the nest it is necessary to have a trained DNR or USFWS representative on site. It is also necessary to notify the US Fish & Wildlife Service and/or the Department of Natural Resources prior to removing a nest.
Four employees from the Baraboo, Wisconsin area together to remove an osprey nest from a precarious location atop a distribution pole and moved it to a new platform. Careful consideration must be taken when attempting to remove a nest from the pole. Before beginning nest removal power lines must be de-energized so that employees have safe working conditions.
Ospreys are likely to return to the same territory to nest each year. One way to discourage the birds from building a new nest on the utility pole is to install nesting platforms to give the birds an alternative site to locate their nest. Alliant Energy employees in Cedar Rapids, Iowa worked with the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Indian Creek Nature Center to install two new platforms for nesting sites within the Prairie Park Fishery and the Sac and Fox greenway.
Also, in an effort to discourage the ospreys from re-nesting on the utility poles, it is sometimes necessary to install diverters on the utility pole. Diverters make it difficult or impossible for the birds to build a nest on the utility pole.
Platforms are typically erected on old retired utility poles. Crews work to set the pole with the platform attached and “seed” the platform with some of the old nesting material in an effort to lure the osprey to the platform and away from the utility pole.