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Nonprofit working to get ospreys away from power lines

Rescued raptor
Posted at 9:35 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 23:39:28-04

BRANDON, Fla. — The non-profit Raptor Center of Tampa Bay said it has recently rescued numerous injured ospreys.

Nancy Murrah, the CEO and Founder of the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay, said raptors are building nests on platforms installed by electric companies. The platforms are a deterrent to keep the bird off of the power lines.

"When the birds started nesting on the actual power line, the decision was made to put a platform up next to it to mitigate that and move the bird off the equipment," said Nancy Murrah.

Murrah said every year, dozens of birds are rescued after falling from the platforms. She is caring for two ospreys. She rescued the adult osprey from Polk County. The bird has fractured wings. She also rescued a juvenile that has not learned to fly.

"We find them in the middle of a two and four and eight-lane road. We find them in parking lots and ball fields and next to very busy, populated areas whether that be a sidewalk or road," said Murrah.

A spokesperson for Tampa Electric said the company only installs platforms if they exhaust all other options like installing deterrents to keep the birds off power lines. In the past 18 months, TECO said it has only installed one platform. The company also said it does its best to provide reliable service while protecting the birds.

Raptor nest

"Tampa Electric has a long history of environmental stewardship. We have a robust Avian Protection Program to protect the birds and our electrical equipment," said Cherie Jacobs, Tampa Electric spokesperson.

Duke Energy shared a similar message. A spokesperson said in a statement, "The greatest risk occurs to nesting birds when the nests are built near energized conductors and hardware. In addition, birds that nest on utility structures may have an increased chance of electrocution or collision while carrying prey or nesting material to the nest."

"Ideally, the use of nesting deterrents will prevent the use of the utility structures for nest building. In some cases when these deterrents have unsuccessfully dissuaded Ospreys from nesting, Duke Energy will install a platform to distance the nesting material and birds from the energized equipment," said Ana Gibbs with Duke Energy Corporate Communications.

Murrah said it costs about three thousand dollars to rehabilitate each bird and raptors are the safest nesting in trees.

"If we keep them off artificial structures and enforce them to go back into the trees, it's a better life for them and fewer end up in captivity," said Murrah.