Just this morning, I was reading an article in The Herald-Times, a local south central Indiana newspaper, and would like to share a summary of that with you. A reporter named Aleasha Sanley had written that the South Central REMC, which has its headquarters in Martinsville, Indiana, was taking steps to provide safe nesting areas for birds of prey, such as eagles, owls, and hawks. Often these raptors build nests near electric lines and poles, placing themselves in danger, and their demise can have a serious effect on the economy.
She interviewed Patti Reynolds, president of the Nashville, Indiana-based Return to the Wild. This organization helps birds of prey that have been injured return to their habitats. She noted that a single family of screech owls can eat seven mice a day. Just one mice can do $25 worth of damage to crops during a growing season. (Can you imagine the damage rodents can do to crops?)
The SCI REMC will begin its program of providing safe environments for these birds of prey on Earth Day, April 22. The program consists of placing nesting platforms, perches, and bird boxes in the electric cooperative’s service area. Birds for whom the cooperative will provide safe nesting and perching include American kestrels and red-tailed, Cooper’s and red-shouldered hawks; bald eagles, northern harriers, and several owls: eastern screech, great horned, barred and barn owls. All of these raptors are found in this part of Indiana. The article included comments from Larry Terrell, manager of SCI’s Vegetation Management Department who said his department’s responsibility is to maintain the natural habitats of animals that live in the areas near the power lines. He noted that hollow trees, used for nests by owls and haws, often have to be cut down in the areas of the power lines. The perching, nesting platforms, and boxes is a means to provide safe homes for the birds rather than them using electric equipment in the area.
I found this information in Aleasha’s article to be heart-warming, and very environmentally and wildlife friendly. The South Central REMC’s Raptor Enrichment Program is an example of how other businesses, land developers, cities, and counties can protect animals. When I think of the eagle’s nest that was filmed with a remote camera, and then placed on the Internet so that millions of people could watch the eggs hatch, the actions of the South Central REMC may well allow that to occur more frequently. This utility company feels a responsibility to provide a safe environment for birds where they have had to alter the previous environment. It understands the economic impact rodents can have on the food supply of people and animals. The crops of farmers will be better protected from rodents, which are mainly controlled by these birds of prey. And thinking of all the baby birds that may safely hatch away from the dangers of electric lines and one day soar away to live on their own makes the mama in me smile.
This blog post is written by Pam Todd, www.bagsandmorebypam.artfire.com, and a member of the Crafting4Animals Guild on ArtFire. The information was taken from an article written by Aleasha Sanley, entitled “Utility Powers Move to Protect Raptors,” and published in The Herald-Times, Bloomington, Indiana, Friday, April 6, 2011, section D, page 4.