The guards are the green plastic material on the bushings and insulators, and the rubber tubing on the conductors extending from the green pieces. (BC Hydro contributed)

Birds on a guarded wire

BC Hydro added guards to its substations to prevent accidental contact with birds

Life in the northwest just got a little safer for birds.

BC Hydro has installed bird guards at substations in Terrace, Kitimat, Port Edward and Prince Rupert, as well as hundreds of kilometres north to Bob Quinn and Tatogga.

“These guards will help protect birds from accidental electrical contact when they land on equipment within the substation and touch live components,” said Dave Mosure, spokesperson for BC Hydro in an email.

The guards that were added on Oct. 16 will not only save birds’ lives, but will also prevent customer outages. BC Hydro estimates the guards could save approximately five birds per year.

At the Prince Rupert Wildlife Rehab Shelter, Gunther Golina said they usually see two to five birds a year that have been shocked or electrocuted.

“Mostly it is when eagles land on a transformer to keep warm in the wintertime,” he said. “The young ones usually get a little bit of a shock and they fall down, and the fall is worse. We nurse them back to health.”

If they know where the bird was electrocuted they will find the number on the pole and share the information with BC Hydro and the conservation officer.

“Most of the time [the birds] die because it’s so bad,” Golina said, but the situation should improve with the new guards installed at the substation.

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