The Day I learned of the death of Decorah Eagle D14

I received word   in the  early morning of  Novemeber 27th,  2012 about D14’s  Death by electrocution.  My wife and I were just  preparing to leave Vancouver, BC  from a  wonderful  weekend  getaway.  During our trip  I received  several “signs”  from  Eagles that I’ll write about  later…..

on  our drive home  along the side of the freeway  I saw a pair of eagles in  a tree.  There was an exit up ahead…please honey  can we take that exit and backtrack up that  road to  see  if they are still there?   Of course we  did, we exited and headed back  north on  the road that runs parallel to the  freeway.  I notice a side  road, lined with power poles and one of them has  a “perch” installed on it…. I say turn down here I want to get a photo of that perch… it’s smaller than the ones  we have in  Washington, but it’s still an attempt by the power company to  provide  some safety for   large  birds….. no sooner do I get the picture of the  perch  does an adult Bald Eagle lands on the  next pole up, smack on top of the pole….. I thought to myself….  We can build them, but  will they use them? Does it matter?  Maybe the   perch that was on the other pole was just too  small or not sturdy enough for an Eagle…  then I thought you know what it doesn’t matter…  someone  cared enough to try…  and we can  continue to learn and improve  like we  ARE  doing in  Decorah, IA and like PSE  does here in Washington….  As the beautiful  raptor  took  off from the top of the pole  my heart  sank… wings spread the  width of the wires…Oh- My- God  am I about to witness the  horrible devastation  first hand of an  eagle  being electrocuted by an unprotected power pole?

Thankfully that was not the case,  the  eagle gracefully  launched off the  pole  down to a field, grabbed  some “nestoration”  material and   headed off into the distance. ….we  drove back to where the  two were perched earlier and they were  still there….. I looked around and  found their nest  in a  tree  beside the  freeway amidst  many  high voltage lines and I just imagined how many large wing-spanned birds are killed   by our need for  power and  lack of  education  or lack of caring by the power companies….  I know that Puget Sound Energy  does care and   is a leader in the field  of avian protection from electrocution and I’m thankful to live in an  area  that does have a sense of environmental  responsibility.  I am  blessed  to  be part of a group  “The  Memorial for D12 – Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/groups/Memorial4D12/ ” that raised  money and  awareness for a similar act in  Decorah, Iowa.

Our group worked with  the local  power company  to make a difference…  we raised funds and  offered to  buy the materials and  pay  every penny we could to   make the difference for  the  great good of all  birds with large wingspans that could be in danger  of death by electrocution…. We weren’t playin’ around here!   The   power company  stepped  up and listened  and  came through  WITH us!!  Alliant Energy agreed to  provide the hardware and installation  of the  same style of perches that PSE uses with  some modifications  to fit their  poles,  the  Local  High school was engaged and   we asked their   industrial arts class to  cut and assemble the perches and  they eagerly   agreed,  we contacted  a local  builders supply  ( Decorah Building Supply – http://www.decorahbuildingsupply.com/  )  and they   donated 50% of the lumber needed for 20  Power Pole Perches!  We  talked with  The Raptor Resource Project  – http://www.raptorresource.org/ and  asked them which poles they  believed needed the perches  and  they helped to identify  the ones  most urgently needed.   I tell you this story of success as a testimonial  of sorts that  change CAN  happen , that there ARE PEOPLE  who work for these large power companies  not machines… there are people with hearts and  a sense of  responsibility and  respect for  the environment .  we CAN co-exist with  wildlife and we CAN make a difference to make their lives  safer if we can find those people   with the hearts  within the companies to push through the changes!!!  We  can  give them information on  the  Avian Power Line Interaction Committee: http://www.aplic.org/

We can share our own  success stories:
D12 Memorial Group story: http://raptorresource.blogspot.com/2012/11/bird-safe-power-poles.html

We can provide the power companies with  info on how to  build  the safety devices
Avian Protection Devices: http://www.srpnet.com/environment/aviandiagram.aspx

We can show them  photos
D12 Perches: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68092929@N03/8203641600/

The  D12 ( and now also D14) Memorial   group  also created a a “Coffee Table” type book to provide information, celebration and education on the dangers faced by  raptors as well as to celebrate the short life of D12 ( and D14)  http://theraptornation.org/Chapters/Decorah/Book/  we accept donated books  and we  have been providing them to the people in those companies that we find DO care and DO  push  the plans forward and   make a difference!!

Here is a  quote from  The  Raptor Resource Project: “ All raptors – all wild animals – face myriad dangers in their lives. It is easy to forget that watching and tracking them doesn’t protect them. We’ll miss following D14.”

And they are  right, but  for anyone who  appreciates nature and  wildlife YOU  CAN  MAKE A  DIFFERENCE!!!! Talk to your power company FIND someone who  cares they ARE THERE!!! Enlist their support,  get them one of our books (5$ from each book  goes toward our  memorial fund that provided the money for the perches,  a bench  in honor of the Decorah Eagles and in memory of D12,  will provide an  educational Kiosk at the  Decorah Fish Hatchery in honor of the Decorah Eagles and  in memory of D14 and  other like  causes…100% of  funds are going to  education, preservation and celebration of  the majestic creatures.

The memorial  fund is here: http://michaelcunningham.chipin.com/memorial-for-d12-and-14

 

4 thoughts on “The Day I learned of the death of Decorah Eagle D14

  1. Mike,
    You say things so well. I have tried to get in touch with Alabama Power (Southern Company) here in parts of Alabama and with Huntsville Utilities in Huntsville. I will (with you permission) use parts of your “ramblings” to speak to them about the power poles here in my area.
    The eagles without knowing do so much for all of us. I would never have had to opportunity to know and “meet” so many different people who have a common love – animals!

    Thanks, Judy

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Often we find that our need is to blame someone at a time like this. We don’t like the idea (the fact) that sometimes it’s just another something that happens in nature, albeit avoidable. Thanks for reminding us that we can help, that others are aready helping.

  3. Mike, your eloquence with words is outstanding. I applaud all you said and agree totally. I am so proud to be part of this organization and am happy that you acknowledged the positive response by Alliant Energy. Keep speaking and more will listena nd learn.

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