First Energy is using aerial drones to inspect the nests of protected birds of prey. The drones offer a fast and safe way to survey locations where birds have started nesting on utility poles and other electric equipment without disrupting the birds.
Birds of prey like ospreys and eagles often seek out tall structures to build their nests which can measure up to three feet in width. These nesting habits often place the birds near energized electrical equipment which jeopardizes their well-being and potentially causes power outages.
First Energy is one of the first in the utility industry to use drones for nest inspections. The drone’s pilot keeps a 330-feet buffer between the drone and the nest. Inspections take about 15 minutes. If a nest is found to pose a serious threat to the safety of the birds or power reliability, JCP&L works with State Wildlife Officials to provide a special nesting box for protection.