STUDENT PROJECT: The Eagle Has Landed
The Decorah eagles’ web camera captured the attention of millions of people around the world but it’s the deaths of two of those eagles capturing an eastern Iowa class room.
Those two eagles died by electrocution from a power pole. As a result, some high school students say they have a solution to keep other birds alive.
The students of Decorah High School in an industrial technology class are busy working on a project that will save lives.
“We’re putting the brace on so it will hold it equal” explains Decorah student, Aric Luzum, “so when the bald eagles sit on it, it doesn’t tip on them.”
As a Decorah native, sophomore Aric Luzum is very familiar with the eagle cam that made Decorah a name in households worldwide.
“My mom’s a teacher, and I ended up having to watch it every night because she wanted the update for her kids for the next day, so I got pretty used to watching the eagles.”
After the first eagle got electrocuted in July, an organization called Raptor Nation started raising funds for this school project.
Industrial tech teacher, John Condon, better known as Mr. C, can explain, “If the eagle lands [on top of the power pole] and touches this wire and then touches this wire, they have about a 6-foot wingspan, they could be electrocuted, and they often are electrocuted.”
A specially designed perch give the eagles a higher place to land, away from the dangerous wires.
The students are constructing 20 of these contraptions for Alliant Energy to install on power poles, with funds and materials from Raptor Nation and Decorah Building Supply.
“If Alliant Energy and all the local power companies, the recs, are willing to put these up, I would bet that other schools and their industrial technology programs would be more than willing to participate.” Mr. C predicts, “It gives students a great project. There’s really accurate measuring and very accurate cutting.”
The students learn, the eagles survive and the birds’ millions of fans will be able to keep following the eagles’ lives.
Alliant Energy worked with wildlife experts to determine the areas most heavily traveled by the Decorah eagles and will install 20 perches on power poles next year.