Eric Madden, a line crew supervisor at AEP Ohio’s South Point service center, was driving to work a few miles from his house when he spotted what looked like an osprey nest high atop one of our utility poles in Haverhill. He quickly recognized the large nest was a fire hazard that threatened our equipment and the birds, so he got in touch with Vaughn Kaufmann from AEP Ohio’s environmental services group.

Together, they determined that a brief scheduled power outage was necessary to carefully dismantle the nest before any eggs could be laid. Ospreys are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act but, so long as no eggs or babies are located in the nest, it can be removed. With the help of a 55-foot bucket truck, the team was able to safely remove the nest with only a five-minute outage.

To discourage the osprey from returning to the dangerous location, lineworkers put up deterrents such as a plastic owl and rubber piping “fingers” that wave in the wind, but the nest began to reappear. This time, the AEP Ohio team opted for a compromise — removing the empty nest once again, but building an even higher wooden platform beside the nesting site to encourage the birds to build their home in a safer location.

Eric drives by the platform every day and is monitoring it for any activity to make sure any new nests are in a safer location that won’t potentially cause power outages for our customers.

Employees take regular avian training and Environmental Services has established relationships with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and other environmental agencies to ensure effective, approved protocols are followed.

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