It’s about the size of your hand but it’s saving lives.
MidAmerican Energy is helping the eagle population grow.
The reflectors above the Arsenal bridge are known as bird diverters.
Chris Jerome is a telecom engineer with MidAmerican Energy. He says a bad winter in 2014 put birds on his radar.
Jerome tells Local 4 New at least 15 eagles were reported dead.
He explained, “Whether they would actually slam into the side of the bridge or something — but as MidAmerican we were trying to figure out a way to kind of help it with our cable being on the bridge, so that’s why we put the bird diverters on there so we think we helped.”
Jerome asked Brian Blevins, a local bird expert.
“(The eagles fly) early in the morning and late in the evening, at low-light levels,” he said, “and they were getting smacked so let’s try something and it seems to be working.”
Blevins owns Blevins Bird Shop and Art Gallery in the Village of East Davenport.
He says birds see at a distance.
“So you’r extending the structure so they fly higher to go over,” Blevins said. “If you put a lot of dots together it looks like a solid line – that’s what you’re trying to do.”
The energy company has these reflectors in stock. They were purchased for about $10-15 a unit.
They are easy to use: pry it open, attach it to a stick and as soon as it touches the communication wire it snaps closed. It only takes about 30 seconds.
Jerome continued, “To my understanding, it didn’t hurt to have them closer and I figured with all the traffic and all the birds, to have them closer and more identifiable the cable was, the better.”
It’s a concept Blevins hopes to see sparking interest beyond the Mississippi.
“Maybe it will be a great thing,” he said. “Maybe this will be the protocol up and down the Mississippi and even other rivers.”