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'Goose guards' atop power poles may keep osprey away

'Goose guards' atop power poles may keep osprey away
That's not a real goose, but don't tell the osprey that. So far, the decoys are dissuading ospreys from building nests atop BC Hydro power poles.

BC Hydro tries using decoy geese to prevent ospreys from nesting atop poles

Osprey don't just love fish. They also have a thing for nesting atop power poles, which provide a lofty perch with a nice view and a mistaken sense of family safety.

For years, BC Hydro has had to deal with osprey nests atop power poles by erecting a pole nearby, with a platform, and transferring the nest to that new, safe home away from power lines. It makes for great stories and images, but the nests can cause power outages for BC Hydro customers, and removing them is both costly and far from ideal or practical.

So in the spirit of innovation and cost saving, BC Hydro has started to experiment with the placement of decoy geese – a bird the osprey fears – atop power poles in the East Kootenay region of B.C. And so far, the idea looks promising, precisely because the osprey don't seem to like it.

These so-called "goose guards" act as a scarecrow against osprey that might use either distribution power poles – the typical wooden poles that carry power to homes and businesses – or high-voltage transmission poles, as nesting places. Since June, we've installed three goose guards around the East Kootenay region, in Baynes Lake, Fernie and near Koocanusa.

And so far, the osprey have been steering clear, choosing to build nests elsewhere.

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