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Our Bird Protection Strategies Take Wing

May 02, 2016
Published In: Corporate Responsibility

​"We already had a mating pair of American coots," said EPCOR Environment Specialist Keyra Hawley Yurchi. "It was very surprising."

Canada geese, mallards, Pied-billed grebes - Hawley Yurchi has already identified 16 migratory birds that are home early and have begun nesting.

Recently, a resident warned one of our crew that an American kestrel (North America's smallest falcon) had been spotted in the woods near where they were working to replace power equipment. The crew called in Hawley Yurchi. Although she couldn't see the little raptor, she used a bird-call phone app to play the kestrel sound – and sure enough, a kestrel called back.

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An American Robin decided the bumper of one of our vehicles provided the right shelter for a nest. The chicks – dubbed Arc, Spark, Flash and Rodney – were taken to a bird shelter, and survived. (Photos supplied by Hawley Yurchi, EPCOR) ​​

"I just have the best job. I feel that our social licence is important. Our customers expect us to protect wildlife."
- Keyra Hawley Yurchi, EPCOR Environment Specialist

We live in a time when human development and technology impacts wildlife. Our environmental protection staff are proud of the role they play to meet requirements of legislation such as the Migratory Bird Act or the Wildlife Act.

"I just have the best job," said Hawley Yurchi. "I feel that our social licence is important. Our customers expect us to protect wildlife."

That's why one of the major components of EPCOR's power Distribution and Transmission environmental policy is the Wildlife Protection Program. It was created to ensure that all impacts on the environment and wildlife, such as osprey or peregrine falcons, are considered prior to any construction. In some cases, we've even built special nesting boxes to keep these birds off of hazardous equipment and ensure they're protected.

Everyone from construction and repair crews to planning engineers are on the lookout for wildlife.

"I have to give credit to our boots on the ground," said Hawley Yurchi. "If they see or hear anything, they let us know. We have so much good feedback. We don't want to destroy nests, or interrupt their lives."