Display showcases how OUC protects bald eagles, other raptors from power line interactions
ORLANDO — The Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC – The Reliable One), in partnership with the Florida Audubon Society, has unveiled an exhibit showcasing how it protects large birds, particularly bald eagles, from interactions with power lines.
Located on the grounds of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Fla., OUC’s Avian Protection Exhibit includes a small-scale version of an OUC power line equipped with retrofitted rubber protective coverings on the line’s conductors and transformers. Educational signage provides visitors with an overview of OUC’s Avian Protection Program, an important part of the municipal utility’s commitment to wildlife safety and environmental stewardship. OUC employees built the exhibit.
“Our goal is to prevent bird interactions with power lines from happening because they are not only harmful to wildlife but also the cause of outages,” said OUC’s Jenise Osani, Interim Managing Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Relations, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center’s new addition on Oct. 11.
“Together with the Audubon Society we can raise awareness of the important role these animals play in our environment and what we’re doing to protect them,” added Osani, who’s a member of the Audubon center’s board.
Said the center’s Director, Katie Warner: “We are excited to showcase this new exhibit at the Center for Birds of Prey. Each year, over 15,000 visitors will be able to learn about threats to raptors and how community partners are helping eagles and other raptors stay safe.”
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey focuses on the rescue, medical treatment, rehabilitation and release of injured raptors. The center provides care to about 90 bald eagles a year and has returned 600 to the wild over its 40-year history.
Since 2009, OUC has retrofitted about 2,000 electric utility poles with avian protection covers. The utility continues to retrofit about 200 poles a year, with most being done in an area with one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles in the United States.
Bald eagles were removed, in 2007, from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, but they’re still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Golden and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Officials with OUC and the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey commemorate the opening of OUC’s Avian Protection Exhibit.
Gregg Sampson, OUC’s Sr. Community Relations Coordinator, stands by small-scale utility poles with avian protection covers on power lines.
About OUC—The Reliable One
Established in 1923 by a special act of the Florida Legislature, OUC—The Reliable One is the second largest municipal utility in Florida. OUC provides electric and water services to about 400,000 accounts in Orlando, St. Cloud and parts of unincorporated Orange and Osceola counties.