Empire District Electric Co. and Mid Central Contractors invite you to watch a live video stream as the osprey at Stockton Lake raise their four chicks. The live stream can be accessed from the Empire District homepage here.
Ospreys build their nest by dropping sticks as they fly over. The pair had a nest burn in 2014 after coming in contact with an energized electric line. The fire also damaged the transmission tower and line, interrupting electric service.
In February 2015, Empire crews moved the osprey nest to a newly built nesting box. The new home for the pair of osprey was meant to be a safe nesting alternative while also increasing Empire’s service reliability by helping to avoid outages to customers. Ospreys typically mate for life and will return to the same nesting site each year. In 2015, the pair raised three chicks.
“The Osprey camera was installed to monitor the success of the first nesting box,” explains Jason Grossman, Vegetation Control Coordinator – Transmission. “It has also allowed us a rare insight into the nesting behavior of the Osprey in Missouri. The response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Empire installed three boxes last year and five additional boxes this year. In 2015, Empire customers experienced eight service interruptions prior to the nesting box installations. To date, customers have experienced no outages as a result of the osprey.
“The Ospreys population is rebounding in Missouri and we feel that we have a great solution that allows them to co-exist around our lines while allowing us to deliver safe, reliable power to our customers,” adds Grossman.
The nesting box is about 4-feet by 4-feet and about 70-feet high. Although the power lines are visible in the background, the nesting box is about 50 feet away from the power lines. This nest also has night vision provided by infrared light illumination. Birds and humans cannot see infrared light, so the ospreys are not bothered at night by the infrared light illumination.
Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Co. is an investor-owned, regulated utility providing electric, natural gas (through its unit The Empire District Gas Co.), and water service, with about 218,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. A unit of the company also provides fiber optic services.