Toledo Edison Partners Up to Protect Ospreys

(L.) Toledo Edison donated and installed this 55-foot wooden pole with a nesting platform at the Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge to help protect the osprey bird population. (R.) Penn Power’s John Spencer constructs the hand-crafted box that was later installed atop the wooden pole to create the new bird nesting platform.

May 13, 2021

​As part of its ongoing efforts to protect nesting birds, Toledo Edison will provide a safe nesting location at the Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge for the area’s growing osprey population. In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the company is donating and installing a 55-foot wooden pole with a nesting platform.

“With the significant spike in the osprey population over recent years, we have been fortunate to experience minimal nesting activity on our utility poles and equipment in the Toledo area,” said Amy Ruszala, advanced scientist, and FirstEnergy’s avian expert. “This partnership allows us to proactively complete work to further discourage birds from nesting on or near our electrical equipment, so that it doesn’t become an issue in our area.”

Did You Know?

The Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which is located in northwest Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie. The refuge was established in 1961 to provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife and endangered and threatened species.

Because ospreys prefer to nest near large bodies of water, the five-square-foot wooden nesting platform was installed on top of a new pole along the lakeshore. Toledo Edison donated the materials and labor needed to complete the three-hour installation – and the nesting box was constructed by Penn Power’s John Spencer, shop repair mechanic.

Over the past five years, Penn Power has been a “hot spot” for bird nesting activity, which allowed John to gain experience in building the nesting platform boxes.

Birds of prey, like ospreys, often seek out tall structures including electric transmission towers and poles to build their nests, which can measure up to three feet in width. These nesting habits often place the birds near energized electrical equipment – jeopardizing their well-being and potentially causing power outages. The newly installed platform at the Cedar Point refuge will help discourage the birds from nesting on our infrastructure.

The work builds on the company’s efforts in recent years to protect nesting birds. Toledo Edison has worked closely with FirstEnergy environmentalists and state wildlife officials to install nesting deterrents on utility poles and electrical equipment in the region. Large, bright line markers also have been placed on power lines to provide visual warnings of energized equipment to birds and low-flying aircraft.

Additionally, FirstEnergy deployed an app last spring that allows utility employees to report avian issues in real time, streamlining the process to protect nesting birds and enhance electric service reliability. Field workers can use the app to submit photos and pass on the location of nests or other bird-related issues along the company’s power lines, all from their mobile devices.