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July 19, 2022

AEP Texas Installs Bird Diverters to Protect Whooping Cranes

Rockport, Texas – population 10,000 – sits on the beautiful water of the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its sleepy fishing town vibe, breathtaking sunsets, and as the home of Texas’ only Blue Wave Beach, it's a coastal gem that continues to rebuild after taking a hit from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

One of the most unique and hopeful things about Rockport is that its location attracts the most beautiful migratory birds in the world as they fly south for the winter. The most famous, and most endangered guest, is the whooping crane.

By 1941, the population of one of America’s rarest and tallest birds that makes Texas its winter home had decreased to just 15, according to the Audubon Society.

To protect whooping cranes, AEP Texas crews recently installed bird diverters on utility lines in Rockport.

Kendal Keyes, regional natural resources coordinator for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said a strong relationship with AEP Texas led to the unique solution to meet an important need.

“We have a lot of power lines in parks, as well as a lot of natural habitat and wild animals, so we have specific needs,” Keyes said.

Bird diverters are coil-like pieces of equipment that sit on the line. They are visible to birds in the brightest sun when a cable might disappear. Crews have found success using bird diverters on other power lines, such as lines that cross water near the Nueces Bay Causeway that connects Corpus Christi and Portland.

The bird diverters rest every 15 feet on the lines.

“AEP Texas always helps us. They know how important our wildlife is,” Keyes said. “They always help us by removing fishing line on the power lines so birds don’t get caught. This extra step will help to ensure that these endangered whooping cranes continue to migrate safely in Texas. This is the best place in nature to watch whooping cranes. There's not a place in the world that you can get closer to a whooping crane and see them in their natural habitat. It’s very important spot.”

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