McCormick Taylor’s avian monitors are busiest in the springtime because they're completing avian nest surveys, monitoring nests, conducting hazardous nest assessments, and performing nest relocations for clients along the east coast. We asked our resident avian expert, Tim McGuire out of our Mount Laurel, NJ office, some questions about how the season has been going so far.
What is the most common avian species that we work with in our region?
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are our most frequent subjects.
Why is it especially important to monitor raptor nests during the spring?
Springtime is when nesting activity for relevant species is at its peak; we are most likely to find new activity and be able to observe active nesting/behavior that can lead us to hard-to-find nests during these months.
Why do you think these raptors nest on powerlines?
Power line structures provide an advantageous location for nesting, for remoteness from predators, a great view of surroundings, and are often located in remote areas as powerlines can traverse tens of miles.
Why can nesting on powerlines be such an issue for our clients?
Birds and their nests can compromise the integrity of the structures (fecal matter can be corrosive, nest materials can catch fire, etc.) and system reliability (electrocutions can trigger outages and fires). Protected species nesting can limit access to structures that may require maintenance or repair due to nest buffer exclusion zones for personnel and/or equipment operations.
What can a power company do to prevent these issues?
Install perch diverters and nest excluders (materials and devices that make it difficult to occupy structures) and deploy hazing techniques (audio, visual, and pyrotechnic). However, the birds become conditioned to hazing quite readily and often defeat excluders (birdbrain is no insult), so it’s a constant struggle to find new ways to manage avian hazards.
How does McCormick Taylor keep track of where the raptors have nested and if these nests are in a hazardous location?
McCormick Taylor uses various data management tools, most notably our in-house developed web-based mobile-friendly Avian App, to support our avian hazard monitors and surveyors in identifying and tracking nest and incident hotspot locations.