BC Hydro: Fix your “killing poles”

26 July 2022

It is midnight on the Canadian Prairies, 25 July. There is thunder and lighting and the rain is coming down like the 1600 monsoon in Chennai in July — or like Karachi yesterday when that city got a year’s worth of rain in one day. Each of us wants to have a purpose in life, to make a difference. You can join with others today to do just that.

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Malala and Junior

That quote is worth remembering every time we want to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Today, of course, I am talking about getting BC Hydro to ‘do the right thing’ and honour Junior’s death with positive action. BC Hydro needs to demonstrate that they are up to the challenge of making every hydro pole in the lower mainland of British Columbia safe for our feathered friends! Nothing short of a commitment to that goal is acceptable.

The story of Junior and Malala spread around the world in the same way that the story of Stepan Vokic’s rescue and care of Malena in 1993 did — and, of course, the love that Vokic had in caring for both Malena and her scrawny mate, Klepetan, and their 66 children. We cried and laughed and hoped as the little hawklet that came to the nest as prey became a loving part of the eagle family. Their story took us away from a world that is too full of despair to a place where we saw ‘hope’. Hope for each of us as well as that little hawklet.

The international community is stepping up and helping GROWLS with examples of other hydro companies who do not hesitate but, who rush to action when they hear of a bird in desperate need. The latest rescue of a juvenile Osprey caught on a hydro pole in Connecticut from one of my favourite wildlife rehab clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope (APCH) took place Sunday evening. Have a read! It is inspiring.

There is the young Osprey being rescued!

Those who had the ability to step into action and help this young Osprey did not hesitate. They did not stop taking phone calls after hours – they answered the phone and got the proper staff out immediately. This is what we expect from BC Hydro. No more excuses. No more relying on antiquated sections of their founding documents to hedge their responsibilities. No more closing their eyes to the situation. BC Hydro is more than aware of the eagles that are killed on its power poles. We want action.

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/quite-disturbing-5-bald-eagles-electrocuted-on-hydro-poles-1.3234031?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

BC Hydro does fund OWLS with an annual donation. They have even worked on some projects with OWLS. For those who do not know, OWLS is the only raptor rehab in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Of course, OWLS relies on this generous donation but, it also compromises them so that they cannot speak out. That is where we come in. We do not have any conflicts of interest. We are a growing number of international bird lovers who believe that all life on this planet is to be valued and respected. We treasure our relationship with the natural world and so many of us know precisely what our feathered friends meant to us during the darkest days of the pandemic. We have learned so much about these raptor families. We have watched them care for their chicks, we have wished for food, we have stayed up at night if there were storms brewing that might harm them and their nests. We have also learned that many of their challenges are due to humans. In this case, our need for electrical power – no matter where we live – puts their lives in danger. The Ospreys were on this planet 60 million years ago. Fossil records indicate that Bald Eagles were here about 1 million years ago. Of course, as more evidence is found these numbers could change with both being here even longer.

Three months ago few of you knew about Gabriola Island and the Bald Eagle family and its streaming cam. Today, GROWLS has 4.1 Facebook Friends that want to make a difference. If you have not stepped up to send an e-mail to BC Hydro, then I invite you to do so today. It takes only minutes to send an e-mail but the impact of these e-mails can bring dramatic change. BC Hydro knows that their power poles are killing ever large number of Bald Eagles each year….this has to stop. It is wonton disregard. If BC Hydro wants to really be a supporter of wildlife then it is time to prove it – not just by a generous donation – but by also undertaking to stop placing killing poles throughout the province of British Columbia.

In 2018, Christian Sasse did an on line Q & A about electrocution and the power poles. He is planning on another (I do not have the time). Here is that earlier broadcast:

The American Eagle Foundation wrote an article about protecting birds from power poles. This along with Christian Sasse’s video gives us some of the knowledge to understand that BC Hydro can and must amend the size of their power poles but, also, undertake measures to make already erected power poles safe. Arm yourself with knowledge and the facts — it will certainly help when you write your letters!

https://www.eagles.org/take-action/avian-friendly-power-lines/?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

Here is an article on how the power poles that are already in place can be retrofitted to be safe for our feathered friends.

PG&E Installs Protective Devices on Power Poles in South Bay Where Bald Eagles Rest and Dine

I copied the following contact information from GROWLS. Send an e-mail, do a follow up to see if BC Hydro is doing anything in response to Junior’s electrocution, and then take the time to go to Twitter and make a comment! We cannot let up. GROWLS is working tirelessly. They need our help and they need us to have good examples of power companies coming to the rescue like the one from A Place Called Hope. — At the end of the day, BC Hydro wants to be the ‘good company on the block’ not one standing there with egg on their face.

 The main email addresses is connectwithus@bchydro, and you can also comment on BCHydro’s FaceBook page at https://fb.watch/eqz1O6X8nS/ , or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bchydro/status/1550289683623575554 The Facebook and Twitter links are direct to BCHydro’s post about Junior’s death

This issue is not exclusive to British Columbia but what is unique to Canada’s most western province is the sheer number of Bald Eagles that call the lower mainland home. British Columbia is home to the largest population of North American Bald Eagles. No other province of Canada or US state can make this claim. That said, all large raptor species that can land on these power poles ——–and the poles where you live — need to be safe! There is no excuse. We know the problem and we also have the solution at hand.

Thank you!

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