By Lyonel Doherty
The recent electrocution of two owls in Oliver has prompted FortisBC to take action to prevent similar deaths in future.
Corporate communications advisor Nicole Brown was on site Tuesday at a power pole in front of Riverside Place on McKinney Road. That’s where two young owls perished when they contacted a line on the pole’s cross arm.
Brown said the owls were nesting in the area.
“It was really an unfortunate situation, really sad. As the birds took their first flight they came in contact with power lines.”
FortisBC assessed the situation and determined that covering the exposed lines was the best solution. In this case, the company combined the project with upgrading the entire switch system on the pole in question.
“In the case of owls, my understanding is they will nest in the same place year after year, so this will keep the area safe should owls return and start a family,” Brown said.
She noted if people see wildlife at risk around FortisBC infrastructure, they should call the company to address the concern.
Brown pointed out they have special osprey nesting poles in Osoyoos and also have bird deterrents (spiraled objects) on some of their lines.
She explained that when birds have both feet on a charged line, there is usually no problem. But if they happen to lift one foot off, they could be subject to electrocution.
Another environmentally friendly measure that FortisBC has undertaken is the installation of bat houses on Meadows Drive in Oliver.
It was reported these houses were made by inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre. It was local resident Stephen Kingsfield who initiated the bat house project with the Town of Oliver and FortisBC.