May 12, 2014. Two baby red tailed hawks and their nest were recently saved, thanks to the sharp eyes of vegetation management workers for Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.
“The crew was de-limbing a pine tree with rot at the base in preparation to cut it to avoid falling into the power lines when they noticed a large nest,” explained Zack Benfield, contract utility arborist for Blue Ridge Electric.
“In the nest were two baby red tailed hawks, with the mother perched a couple trees down watching.” The tree is located in the Todd community of Watauga County.
After coordinating with a state Wildlife officer, Benfield, who oversees the cooperative’s vegetation management program to help ensure reliable electricity, instructed the crew to carefully “tie off” the tree so that the nest of baby hawks would be protected as well as the power line.
“This should give the baby hawks time to mature and fly away,” Benfield said, adding that crews will periodically check on the situation and remove the tree once the hawks are done with the nest.
Balancing the natural beauty of the local area with ensuring reliable electricity is a goal for the vegetation management at Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation. The cooperative operates and maintains nearly 8,000 miles of power lines to serve some 74,000 members across seven counties. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEMC.com.