Line mechanics use a bucket truck to access
Ospreys are large raptors that are listed as a “special concern” in Wisconsin. Osprey populations in Wisconsin declined from the 1950s to early 1970s after a loss of natural nesting habitats of trees along lakeshores. Special concern means that although the animal may not be endangered or threatened, a unique or highly specific habitat may be needed to help it survive.
Ospreys build nests in high structures such as tall trees near water, but a decline of such trees is making another location attractive for the birds – transmission power line towers. The problem is that sticks can fall from the 200-pound nests, causing service interruptions, and the birds could be electrocuted. Over the years, we have been constructing nest structures near our poles and transferring nests to the much higher and safer structures. In Wisconsin, more that 80 percent of the osprey population nests on artificial structures and platforms, most of which are built by utility companies.
Recently, we participated in a banding to identify and track some osprey chicks in Weyauwega and New London. Line mechanics Justin Stanke and Mark Rathje used a bucket truck to access the nests. In New London, we found three chicks in Memorial Park. Stanke and Rathje carefully retrieved them from the nest and carried them to the ground to be weighed and banded. Banding helps keep track of their wintering locations as well as their longevity. Most ospreys winter in Central and South America
“These bandings just make my year,” said Patricia Fisher, owner of the Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center in New London, who coordinates the bandings.
Doc Musekamp holds an osprey during banding.
Those watching the banding were excited and mesmerized by the chicks. Doc Musekamp from our Appleton office was able to hold a bird during the process.
“It was an overall amazing experience to just feel them in your hands. This really is a neat collaboration that We Energies supports,” said Musekamp.
More about our biodiversity initiative
Feather Wildlife Rehab/Education Center
Appleton Post Crescent story
WLUK Fox11 video