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Huge osprey nest relocated by BC Hydro crew at Revelstoke

Crews work to move an osprey nest
BC Hydro power line technician Al Molony attaches a sling to an osprey nest in Revelstoke while his crew-mates look on.

Osprey pair expected to return to nest after winter migration

Posted by Rob Klovance

While mom and dad headed south for a winter vacation, BC Hydro crews recently set to moving their home to a safer place nearby.

The BC Hydro line crew in Revelstoke relied on a planned power outage to relocate a large osprey nest — estimated to be nearly two metres across and weighing as much as an NFL lineman — from a distribution pole to a 55-foot nesting platform they had installed near the bank of the Illecillewaet River in Revelstoke.

"When the osprey pair returns to Revelstoke after winter migration, they are very likely to use the nest again, because the nesting platform is now the highest spot in the same area," said Adam Croxall, who works with BC Hydro's environment risk management team. "BC Hydro’s osprey program has been very successful in reducing impacts of our electrical infrastructure on osprey, a protected species in B.C."

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Power line technicians Rick Carr and Al Molony insert grounding rods under the nest, forming a lattice-like structure designed to keep the nest intact during its transfer to the nearby nesting platform.

Big nest and high platform made for a challenging job

It was the first time the Revelstoke line crew had moved the nest and there were some challenges, including the sheer enormity of the nest. It was also challenging to place the nest on the nesting platform, as the crew's bucket truck was working near its upper limits.

"The height of the nesting platform was very close to the reach of the bucket truck which made it difficult to safely place the nest on the platform and all the while the crews had to manoeuvre around a lot of electrical equipment," said BC Hydro distribution manager Sid Laurila.

Crews finish up moving osprey nest
Because ospreys like to sit atop everything for a clear view, the BC Hydro crew installed the nesting platform slightly higher than the top of the distribution pole where the nest had been constructed.

Ospreys like their homes high up

Ospreys are fish-eating raptors that most commonly build their nests at the top of tall, dead trees. They feel most protected when they sit above everything and have a clear view and easy access to their fishing spots.

Power poles can be an attractive location for ospreys to build a nest, but they're not safe homes. Energized lines running under the nest can create a safety hazard for the birds, BC Hydro customers and line crews.

Because the move required that power be cut, BC Hydro contacted affected customers in advance of the planned outage.  

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com.

View from an osprey nest on top of a distribution pole
Original site of the nest, which sat above energized lines and was potentially dangerous for the osprey and also for crews who may have had to work on the distribution pole.