Media Availability/Photo Opportunity--Fatal attraction: Golden Eagles and Power Lines

Researchers with the UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group will handle three tame, approachable, and photogenic birds of prey (golden eagle, peregrine falcon, and great horned owl) as they discuss efforts to solve the problem of bird deaths caused by power lines and other electricity transmission structures.


Thursday, September 26, at 11 a.m.


Long Marine Laboratory

Long Marine Lab is located at the end of Delaware Ave. in Santa Cruz. Take the entrance road past the first building on the right, and turn right into the parking lot at the offices of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group (SCPBRG).


Brian Walton, Coordinator, SCPBRG

Brian Latta, Wildlife Biologist, SCPBRG


Bird and wildlife electrocutions are responsible for about 25 percent of power outages in California, causing losses approaching $3 billion annually. Nearly all the outages caused by bird electrocutions involve raptors protected by state and federal laws. Golden eagles, with wingspans of seven feet or more, are the species most at risk of electrocution. California is home to 21 species of raptors with wingspans or body sizes sufficient to present an electrocution risk. Eagles and hawks like to perch and sometimes even nest on top of power poles.

The SCPBRG received a two-year, $1 million grant from the California Energy Commission this year to support research on methods and technologies to reduce wire strikes and electrocutions of birds. The group is now seeking proposals from outside parties who wish to participate in this work. SCPBRG will award approximately $500,000 in research contracts to subcontractors to assist in solving problems with raptors and California's electrical power industry.

Research is needed to assess the extent of the problem and the impact of electrocutions on raptor populations, as well as to develop and evaluate strategies for reducing the risk of electrocutions.


Editor's note: Reporters can contact SCPBRG researchers at (831) 459-2466.