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Osprey Pair Return to a Bird’s Eye View

Shortly after midnight, on a rainy evening in May of 2007, Coop workers responded to an outage in Fairfield, and found that an osprey nest atop of a utility pole had caused the outage.  The nest was built on top of the insulators, and spanned across multiple phases of the electric wires. When combined with the rain, the nest became a conduit for electrical current which caused a fire-a fire that resulted in an outage for approximately 350 VEC members.

The good news was that Coop workers were able to quickly restore power, and the birds were not harmed as a result of the fire.  However, undeterred, the pair began to rebuild their nest. To protect the birds and to prevent another fire, VEC took immediate action by installing osprey nesting discouragement devices recommended by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. The devices were installed on 6 of the poles that cross the swamp in hopes that the Osprey would look for other nesting opportunities within the swamp.

In anticipation of the return of the osprey pair, VEC line crews placed protective devices on nearby structures and installed a new nesting platform away from Route 36 at Fairfield Swamp the next Spring. Officials from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife were on hand to assist in determining the best location for the line workers to place the platform. VEC was hopeful that the ospreys would find the platform appealing and build their nest in a safe place. Within a few weeks they did!

The osprey was recently removed from Vermont’s list of threatened species. There are only about 100 pairs of ospreys that nest in Vermont and local utilities have played an important part in their successful return. The birds are drawn to open areas with abundant fish supplies and they naturally are drawn to the tops of power poles to build their homes. Because of their desire to make power poles their home, VEC felt it was important to take steps to safely accommodate their needs.  We are pleased that this effort resulted in a success story for all!


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