Wake Electric: Safeguarding Wildlife and the Grid

In Zebulon, Wake Electric crews constructed an 85-foot pole with a nesting platform to encourage local ospreys to build their nests away from power lines.

April 2023 – Spring is in the air and the ospreys of Wake County are too, soaring high and on the lookout for a place to carefully construct their nest. Recently, an osprey chose a seemingly perfect spot for their home located high up and in a wide-open area with ample fishing opportunities in the wetlands and ponds nearby. The only problem was that the nest was built on one of Wake Electric’s high voltage transmission poles.

Nesting in utility structures is unsafe and can be deadly to ospreys and other large birds, whose natural wingspan can reach up to 6 feet or more. If the bird or their nest were to make contact with a power line, it could potentially cause injury to the bird or a fire and could lead to power outages and costly damage. “We are a local electric cooperative, so we are very concerned with our local community, and we care about the wildlife and environment too,” said Don Bowman, VP of Engineering and Operations at Wake Electric. “We knew that we needed to take measures to keep the birds in that area safe and also protect our equipment.”

After the nest was discovered, Wake Electric moved quickly to create a safe solution by constructing and setting an 85-foot pole with a platform for the birds to build their nest out of harm’s way. This platform will allow safe and natural nesting for osprey within sight of the surrounding wetlands while also safeguarding important electrical equipment.

Once the platform was built, the osprey took quickly to the new, taller nesting spot. A local Wake Electric member witnessed this in action and wrote a special ‘thank you’ to the co-op, “You went above and beyond to do the right thing for our feathered friends and I am very grateful. I will spread the word that Wake EMC is the best and that corporate can be caring as you have so demonstrated!”

If you spot an existing nest or a bird attempting to build a nest on Wake Electric’s equipment, please contact Don Bowman at don.bowman@wemc.com.