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Birds and Power Lines

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri- State) uses several strategies to reduce the number of birds that are injured or killed when they contact power lines or electrical equipment. The strategies are:

  • Preventive—conducting risk assessments and using avian-safe design standards where possible

  • Reactive—documenting mortalities, notifying resource agencies and applying remedial measures where appropriate

  • Proactive—educating employees and being involved in organizations that conduct avian interaction research

Tri-State is developing a system-wide Avian Protection Plan (APP) to address and minimize bird interactions with the company’s equipment and power lines. For additional infor- mation regarding birds and power lines, visit the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee Web site at www.aplic.org.

Roosting and Nest Management

Transmission line structures and equipment are attractive to birds for roosting and nesting. Utilities try to minimize the risk of injury to birds, damage to electrical equipment and outages to customers that may result when birds come in contact with power lines or their structures. Tri-State imple- ments a variety of perch management approaches on struc- tures to protect both the birds and electrical power reliability. Nest management programs include installing nest boxes or platforms in safe areas on or near structures, where war- ranted. Additionally, Tri-State has an established reporting protocol for the co-op’s personnel. Tri-State’s environmental department also has a protocol to coordinate, as appropriate, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove or relocate nests when appropriate.


Electrocution of birds typically is not associated with Tri- State’s power lines since, with transmission lines greater than 115 kilovolts (kV), the electrical components generally are far enough apart that a bird can avoid contact with two of them at once, thereby avoiding fatally completing a circuit. Problems that do arise can be corrected in two primary ways:

  • Isolation: Moving the components farther apart to get the necessary clearance or using perch discouragers to manage perching and roosting on a structure

Nest Management

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