‘Choppers to fly transmission lines as TVA installs vulture guards

‘Choppers to fly transmission lines as TVA installs vulture guards

Duck River EMC members in coming weeks might see helicopter flights along Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) transmission lines in the co-op’s service territory. The reason for this aerial activity, which includes landings and takeoffs from private property where permission has been granted, is a project to install guards on the lines that discourage vultures from using the vital transmission facilities for daytime perches or nighttime roosts.

Turkey and black vultures are attracted to tall structures like high-voltage transmission towers and lines. They frequently gather in large numbers to roost. The problems caused by these large birds include power outages from contact with conductors, in addition to the buildup of droppings that can cause flashovers and equipment failures.

Both species of vultures are federally protected. Vulture guards mitigate the possibility of the large birds being injured or killed and the risk of high-voltage transmission being interrupted.