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12 April 2016 Testing a Supplemental Perch Designed to Prevent Raptor Electrocution on Electric Power Poles
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Electrocution of raptors is an ongoing conservation concern in western North America. Mitigating electrocution risk focuses primarily on insulating energized equipment or increasing the separation between electrical components, but these approaches are not effective on some electric power pole configurations. In some cases, providing a supplemental perch to encourage raptors to perch away from the energized components on a pole may offer a cost-effective alternative. Though numerous supplemental perch designs exist, to our knowledge, raptor responses to them have not been objectively evaluated. To offer an initial quantification of the use of a supplemental perch, we installed a supplemental perch in a flight enclosure at a raptor rehabilitation facility. We then used compositional analysis to evaluate whether and how much rehabilitated raptors used the supplemental perch in a captive setting. The 17 raptors we tested used the supplemental perch 63.3% of the time, used the crossarm below the supplemental perch 3.4% of the time, and used a control crossarm without a supplemental perch 33.3% of the time. These data demonstrate that at least in a captive setting, raptors can be shifted from high-risk perching in the energized zone of a power pole where wires occur, to lower risk perching elsewhere, potentially reducing electrocution risk on some configurations.

James F Dwyer "Testing a Supplemental Perch Designed to Prevent Raptor Electrocution on Electric Power Poles," Northwestern Naturalist 97(1), 1-6, (12 April 2016).
Received: 15 April 2015; Accepted: 19 August 2015; Published: 12 April 2016

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