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