Fake electricity poles to stop Borders ospreys being electrocuted

Fake electricity poles have been installed to stop ospreys from being electrocuted.

SP Energy workers install the fake polls. Picture: Deadline News
SP Energy workers install the fake polls. Picture: Deadline News

A pair of ospreys, named Samson and Delilah, were seen flying very close to power lines in Lanton, in the Borders.

Eyewitnesses also saw their chicks perching on the top of the poles.

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As a result locals asked ScottishPower to take steps to prevent the birds from being killed and the firm came up with the idea of dummy poles.

SP Energy workers install the fake polls. Picture: Deadline News

The poles extend above the real ones by about four feet, providing a much safer gap.

And the new installation appears to have worked with the birds still being around to see their first egg of the season hatch on Wednesday.

The site, located beside the Born in the Borders brewery, has been a nesting ground for ospreys from Africa for the past 11 years.

Brewery boss John Henderson said: “For the last few years, we have been lucky enough to have been visited by a pair of ospreys, who return each spring to the same tree, and have successfully reared several chicks.

SP Energy workers install the fake polls. Picture: Deadline News

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“We noticed that the birds were beginning to become a little bit too comfortable near power lines.”

Rosie Shields, a regular visitor to the site, said: “I feel that the safety measures put in place have helped these iconic birds enormously to remain safe around their nesting site.

“The engineers were so enthusiastic and couldn’t do enough to make sure the birds were going to be as safe as possible from live wires and equipment.”

The installation follows the launch of “Operation Jimmy” – a campaign set up following the death of “Jimmy” the osprey who died after being electrocuted on a power pole in Wales. Campaigners set up a website in his honour, highlighting that dangers electrical poles cause for birds.

ScottishPower engagement manager, Johan Gillespie said: “There were concerns raised about the welfare of an osprey family seen landing on live poles.

“We were able to limit the risk of any danger to the ospreys by inserting dummy poles for them to rest on.

“A perch was also inserted above the equipment on one pole, as well as bird diverters being placed along power lines, to minimise any risk.”

The brewery has recently installed a CCTV camera above the ospreys nest in Lanton which transmits live footage straight to its restaurant.

This has enabled the brewery staff and visitors to get a birds-eye-view of the new eggs hatching.

There are believed to be between 250 and 300 breeding pairs across the country.