Happy Avian Ending: PSE installs new platform so Fall City osprey can complete nest started in dangerous power pole

There is an osprey couple that has captured the attention of some Fall City residents over the past few years.

According to resident Mary Fairchild – who’s been observing the feathered pair for past 4-5 years – they originally nested in a cell tower near Fall City Park, only to have cables installed to deter them. They then successfully nested across SR 203 in broken tree. Last winter’s storms, though, blew the nest away.

The osprey – which are monogamous – returned to Fall City at the end of March and began making a new nest… this time in a power pole along SR 202 and Dike Road.

PSE Media Engagement Program Manager Andrew Padula said, “This could have been dangerous for the birds and our equipment.”

Enter Puget Sound Energy’s Avian Protection Program.

Yes, PSE has a bird protection crew. And it sprang into action, installing a new, wire and hazard-free platform pole – complete with an artificial nest – close to the osprey’s Fall City power pole nest-in-progress.

Crews also installed devices on the power pole to prevent further nesting and to encourage the pair to relocate to the new, nearby nesting start that incorporated some sticks from the power pole nest they hd been building.

The new platform pole was installed on Friday, April 3rd and Mary said by Saturday, April 4th, the osprey were spotted on it and have been actively building a nest there this week.

Andrew Padula explained, “We have about 70 artificial nest structures throughout PSE’s service territory to help reduce the risk to birds, while reducing the risk of power outages and damage to our equipment.”

Annually, the avian protection program (APP) installs an average of 300 ‘avian safe units,’ which includes line spans and nest poles. The remediation projects – built in avian habitat – protect birds from electrocution and collisions and utilize avian safe standards.

The PSE APP team also partners with the Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, The Trumpeter Swan Society, and is an active member of the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee.

Mary anticipates the female osprey will lay her eggs in the next week or two. She commented, “This platform is a great way for our community to watch and learn about them.”

Mary also credits PSE Consulting Resource Scientist Mel Walters for the happy osprey ending unfolding in Fall City.

Did you know?

  • Since 1979, PSE has built more than 65 osprey nest platforms
  • Since 2004, PSE has installed more than 8,500 bushing covers on transformers to prevent bird and squirrel electrocutions and reduce power outages, and approximately 4,000 wire covers which allow eagles and other large birds to perch safely on power poles.
  • Since 2003, PSE has installed more than 23,000 bird flight diverter devices to reduce avian-power line collisions by making conductors more visible to birds, and trumpeter swans in particular.
  • Since 2000, PSE installed more than 120 perches to provide safe alternative locations for birds to perch in areas with little natural substrate for perching.
Nest platform going up in Fall City on 4/3/20. PC: PSE
Nest platform going up in Fall City on 4/3/20. PC: PSE
Fall City osprey actively building nest on 4/7/20. PC: PSE

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