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Roundup’s raven poop problem



Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 2/10/21

Ravens are known to flock in large numbers—sometimes by the thousands—a problem for NorthWestern Energy’s power lines, as experienced in Roundup, Montana. In the winter of 2016, residents were experiencing problematic blackouts and for years the energy company was unsure of the cause. Turns out, the weight of the roosting raven’s droppings on the 500-kilovolt electric towers, specifically on the tower’s insulators, was creating enough of a fault in the electric line’s connections to cause power outages. NorthWestern employee James Lueck noticed one evening, just as the sun was going down, that hundreds of ravens had chosen the towers to roost for the night. Instead of deterring the birds completely, NorthWestern is working on managing their numbers as well as giving the towers a thorough washing.

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