Ospreys are causing power outages around Lake Douglas and Appalachian Electric Cooperative is working with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to monitor and address the ongoing issue.
On April 24, AEC experienced an electric outage on the utility line that runs parallel to Highway 25/70 and supplies power to the Swansylvania community. Line crews discovered a large bird nest on a pole just outside a substation that was determined to be the source of the outage.
Upon inspection, the nest was found empty and AEC contacted TWRA for guidance. After consultation and further investigation, the nest was removed.
The next day, a power outage occurred at the same location and returning line crews discovered a new nest in the process of being built on the site. That day’s incident had damaged the pole where the nest was located and AEC swapped the wooden pole for a steel replacement.
Working with TWRA, AEC identified four locations within the cooperative’s service area where bird nests were potentially problematic
Mitch Cain, director of member services with AEC, said over 1000 AEC customers have been affected so far.
Ospreys are a bird of prey that feed almost entirely on fish. The brown and white hawk-like bird live near water sources and typically build their large nests on the top of large trees, but also will build on utility poles and other structures where they have access to open sky.
Ospreys are found on every continent except Antarctica. Since the 1970’s, they have made a comeback from an endangered status and are now listed as a “species of special concern” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
AEC will continue to monitor the identified Osprey nests and work with TWRA to mitigate the risks to the electric grid introduced by the birds while maintaining a commitment to foster healthy habitats for wildlife.