Birds Doing What They Do

Birds of prey are "the chief perpetrators" of power failure for 7 million customers of Florida Power & Light, according to a report from Knight-Ridder News Service. Among the culprits are red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, eagles and ospreys that perch on electric utility towers. "The big birds have big droppings.

12/01/2001


Birds of prey are "the chief perpetrators" of power failure for 7 million customers of Florida Power & Light, according to a report from Knight-Ridder News Service. Among the culprits are red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, eagles and ospreys that perch on electric utility towers.

"The big birds have big droppings. Long droppings, to be precise, that stretch out in continuous streams up to four, five or even six feet long," the news service report said. "If one end of a strand hits an electric wire and the other the grounded tower, the line can short. Computers quickly fix the problem, but not before lights, computers and digital clocks in up to 55,000 homes flicker off for a moment."

Working with the Bird of Prey Center at the Miami Museum of Science, FP&L is funding research to help the birds find roosts someplace other than on power lines.

"The main push behind working with [the Center] is to understand the behavior of the birds and try to come up with things that modify the structure so they won't sit on it," Grace Polo Couret, a reliability engineer with the utility, told Knight-Ridder. "They are so persistent, it's hard."

From Pure Power, Winter 2001.





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