TEP installs safety features for AZ raptors - Tucson News Now

TEP installs safety features for AZ raptors

One example of TEP installed protections for Arizona's birds of prey (Source: Tucson Electric Power) One example of TEP installed protections for Arizona's birds of prey (Source: Tucson Electric Power)
Another example of protection for Arizona's birds of prey, installed by TEP (Source: Tucson Electric Power) Another example of protection for Arizona's birds of prey, installed by TEP (Source: Tucson Electric Power)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Some of the largest birds in Tucson have hatched and flown the nest this season.

They have a good shot at survival here in the city, thanks to a partnership between Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and the University of Arizona.

Baby hawks in one Foothills neighborhood are just about ready to fly the nest, but growing up in the city has its challenges.

A video provided to Tucson News Now by TEP shows utility workers installing a special platform on Tucson's eastside for a nest that was made on top of a power pole.

"It's basically made out of plastic, which is much safer," stated Joe Barrios, a spokesperson for TEP.

It is the second platform of its kind to be installed in the Tucson area, to protect birds of prey from electrocution.  Active power lines are also a danger to young raptors with clumsy wings.

A bird can only touch one power line but hawks have such massive wings that if that wing touches a second line, that's where it gets hurt, so workers will put plastic molding over one of those lines so a hawk can either safely sit on top of those moldings or if it's on a different power line and the wing touches it, it's safe.

"When they have others that can hunt for them, they might be able to live with an injured foot," said Bill Mannan, with UA Natural Resources. TEP pays for help from the bird experts at the U of A. 

"Their job is to locate active nests each year and to let TEP know where those are," said Mannan. 

Natural Sciences researchers say at one time, about 100 hawks were dying every year from contact with live wires.

"Those nest sites are really where we concentrate and focus on installing this equipment," stated Barrios.

All new power lines are fitted with bird protections. 

TEP is also asking for the public's help, to let them know when they spot a nest by calling (520) 623-7711.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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