January 6, 2015: Second swan dies from power line collision!

Seward, Alaska

According to the Alaska Sealife Center, a second young swan died yesterday after colliding with the power lines bordering the Lagoon.

Upon examination, neither swan showed evidence of electrocution, which would require touching two wires simultaneously. However, the collision caused them to lose their balance and fall, resulting in broken necks and internal trauma.

Swans not only need a lot of room to maneuver, but low light conditions may make the lines hard to see. One after the other, the young swans did not see the wires in time to avoid them. 

Trumpeter Swans are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Utilities can be prosecuted and fined for causing deaths. All birds that die due to power lines must be documented and reported to US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Aerial marker spheres, spirals, and suspended devices that swing, flap, and flash can be added to the power lines to make them more visible. There are official bird deflectors, but it seems to me that the long, colorful flashers used for fishing attached with a swivel would help.

If you would like to help prevent any more tragedies, please contact the City Manager and Seward Electric Department and ask them to install markers on these power lines ASAP, before any more swans die.

City Manager Jim Hunt, 224-4047, jhunt@cityofseward.net

Electric Department Utility Manager John Foutz                                       
224-0471, jfoutz@cityofseward.net

Electric Department Operations Supervisor Jeff Estes                     
224-0472, jestes@cityofseward.net

Carol Griswold

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