UPDATE: D12, the first eagle hatched this spring at the world-famous Decorah nest, was found dead Sunday morning at the base of a power pole near the nest at the Decorah Fish Hatchery.
“It was very probably electrocuted,” said Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project, which operates a Webcam whose footage is streamed via the Internet to millions of fans.
Anderson said an off-duty Alliant Energy employee responded Sunday to the scene and installed a temporary insulation shield on the pole to prevent a similar fate for D12’s two siblings. All three of the young eagles had recently fledged and were flying and roosting near the nest tree.
“On Monday morning, an Alliant Energy crew returned to the nest tree area and worked on several power poles near the nest tree, installing permanent insulation to prevent future avian problems,” Anderson said.
This is the first known death of any of the 14 young eagles fledged from the Decorah nest, but it will probably not be the last, Anderson said.
Anderson said he in no way blames Alliant, which has supported efforts to help raptors flourish, including efforts to restore peregrine falcons at the Alliant plant in Lansing and other plants along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
D12′s sibling, D14, to which a satellite transmitter was attached on Wednesday, June 27, is doing fine, he said.
Here’s the full post from the RRP:
We are very sorry to announce that D12 is dead. D12 was found electrocuted at the base of a power pole on a Sunday morning. We notified the power company, who modified the top of that pole on Sunday and several other poles in the area on Monday. As of this morning, they are continuing to identify and modify poles to make them raptor safe. If you find an electrocuted raptor or other bird by a pole, take it to the nearest wildlife center (if it is still alive) and contact your state DNR or local game warden and the utility company that owns the pole. You will need to:
1. Provide information about the dead or injured bird.
2. Identify the nearest pole to the electrocuted raptor by the pole identification number (on the pole itself) and local landmarks such as cross streets or street addresses (if applicable).
Include as many specifics as you can regarding the species and the incident. If possible, take photographs of the raptor and the pole to submit with your reports and notes.
Power lines themselves are not an electrocution hazard for birds (birds can and do sit on wires), but unshielded poles can be dangerous. The Avian Protection Plan Guidelines include information on raptor safe poles and modification of existing poles. New structures are fairly safe, but older poles may not be. Older poles may have been installed either before people were aware of electrocution hazards to wildlife, or during the decline of raptor populations in America, when interaction was less likely. Here is a link to more information about birds and utility structures, including poles:
Again, we are very sorry to announce the death of D12. This pole and others like it in the area have been modified to prevent future electrocutions.