February 13, 2023

ATC uses drone to install bird diverters for the first time

We care about the environment, particularly in areas where our facilities are in close proximity to known avian flyways. That’s why this week, an ATC contractor will install over 450 bird diverters on the wires of three high-voltage electric transmission lines in three Wisconsin counties – Marinette, Ozaukee and Winnebago counties.

Using a fully autonomous LineFly™ robot connected to a heavy lifting drone, Canadian-based FulcrumAir will install the bird flight diverters to help keep birds safe while also ensuring the reliability of the electric grid.

“Bird flight diverters increase visibility of the wires and help protect birds from contacting the power lines while in flight,” said Michael Warwick, ATC senior environmental project manager and avian protection program specialist. “Most of the diverters will be installed over or adjacent to wetlands and bodies of water. These devices provide a visual deterrent to help protect larger, heavy-bodied species that do not maneuver easily – such as geese, swans, pelicans, cranes and other waterfowl.”

This is the first time ATC is using a drone to install bird flight diverters. In the past, ATC has installed bird diverters using a light-duty helicopter. Using a drone helps to increase safety and reduce installation costs.

The bird flight diverters will be installed in the following locations:

  • Marinette County along a portion of a 138,000-volt line across the Peshtigo River near the Peshtigo River Train Bridge
  • Ozaukee County along a portion of a 345,000-volt line within the Mequon Nature Center
  • Winnebago County along a portion of a 138,000-volt line near South Asylum Bay along Bowen Street

 Drone flight schedules may vary and are subject to change, based on weather. In the interest of safety, if you see the drone and robot in the area, please stay at least 300 feet away from the work area and refrain from stopping, viewing and photographing the work from a roadway.