Some neighbors have been concerned about how the eagle nest has "interfered" with Florida Power and Light's ability to restore street lights to the far western stretch of Pines Boulevard. We have good news to report. Here is a note from the Florida Audubon EagleWatch Program Manager with my reply.:
I just got off the phone with David Niebch with Florida Power and Light. I guess 10 street lights have been out since Irma along Pines Blvd near nest BO002. They have traced the problem to the transformer, which is about 100 feet from the nest. They are aware that the nest is active and are hopeful that the issue is a switch in the transformer, which will take about 30 min to replace. Worst case scenario, the transformer may need repair which would take 1.5 hrs max.
David and FPl are great advocates for eagles and discussed every option with the city to fix this without actually having to work near the nest. But it has become a safety issue for the city and this is the only way to fix the problem.
So David had a conversation with USFWS about the work and USFWS approved the work as long as they schedule it as quickly as possible, do the work in a short amount of time and hire a monitor to watch the nest during the work. As mentioned, their hope is the work will take 30 minutes.
The current plan is to do the work this Wednesday morning. The monitor hired by FPL will be on site before sunrise to keep an eye on the eagles. FPL will have all of their equipment and the plan ready before they get on site so they will be there as little time as possible. Tentatively they are hoping to start work around 9:00am.
I know a number of people keep an eye on this nest and report through your blog, so I wanted to let you know about the planned work in case you want to make others aware of it so no one calls FWC by mistake that morning. Again, the work has been approved by US Fish and Wildlife and should be done within a couple of hours max.
David Niebch said to feel free to call him if you need to: 561-904-3275.
Audubon EagleWatch Program Manager
1101 Audubon Way
Maitland, FL 32751
= = = = = = = = = = = My Reply:
Indeed, FPL has been tremendously supportive of efforts to protect the eagle nest. Even though the female is relatively new to the location, I have seen that she is quite tolerant of disturbances such as motorcycles, sirens and landscapers.
FPL has also installed protective insulators and "Curley-Ques" (spiral inserts) on the power lines to avert avian collisions. I know they will act responsibly and promote public safety.
Some of my neighbors who have complained about the delay in correction of the street light outage will be pleased to hear that FPL is addressing its responsibility to customers as well as to this iconic species.