Case Study:  Sumter Electric Cooperative


SECO Line Crew installs osprey nesting dish over Dead River in Lake County, Florida.



From a pontoon boat on the edge of Dead River, located in the Harris Chain of Lakes, Florida, Sumter Electric's Operations line crew ascends a 75-foot concrete pole to install a secure nesting base for an osprey who has claimed the lofty perch overlooking the waterway it as it new home and nesting site.


When ospreys select a power pole to support their nest, they unknowingly put their lives at risk. Once eggs are laid, any part of the large nest could come into contact with live power lines, endangering the parent birds' safety as well as the safety of the pair's offspring -- and ultimately, the next generation of this protected species.  In addition, the nest which is made of large twigs can cause a serious power outage for consumers. To protect these beautiful birds, and prevent major interruptions to their members' electric service, Sumter Electric installs fiberglass nesting dishes.  These sturdy dishes, secured to the top of utility poles, allow the osprey to rest comfortably in its original nest, and SECO eliminates interruptions to electric service caused by the nesting materials.


By first installing cables to re-route the power, utility workers at Dead River prevent electricity from traveling through the section of wires while they work underneath. Following replacement of the wooden crossarms, the crew attaches the new dish.  


Not all poles chosen by the birds for nesting are easy to get to as this case proves. In the swamp below, line techs work a hand line from a boat to hoist tools and materials up and down the pole to coworkers.  Balancing on the narrow platform and the rungs of the pole, the workers heave the 30-pound nesting dish into position and secures it to the pole, proving again, that with careful planning, nature and industry can coexist.


Each year, the ospreys will enjoy a safe, comfortable home overlooking the beauty of Dead River, where the pair will nurture fledglings until they are able to fly off on their own.