Protecting Precious Birds And Powerlines

CBS 2's Jim Williams reports biologists and electrical workers are joining forces to help protect eagles and the powerlines the birds have been known to use.

Video Transcript

- Protecting precious birds and protecting our power lines, some biologists took flight in a helicopter, today, to do just that. Here's CBS2's Jim Williams,

JIM WILLIAMS: Eagles and osprey, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and under the watchful eye of scientists who are making sure they're safe.

SARA RACE: Today, we have two wildlife biologists in a helicopter flying the ComEd territory, which is, basically, all of northern Illinois.

JIM WILLIAMS: Biologists covering that wide area are looking for eagle and osprey nests, hoping to protect them from electrocution and protect our ComEd service from power line damage.

SARA RACE: We want to have reliable power, and it protects the birds. So it's helping both ends.

JIM WILLIAMS: Biologists were in the air 10 hours Monday, 10 hours today, and they'll be back at it again on Wednesday. We wondered how many nests they found so far.

SARA RACE: We won't know exactly what we find until the end of day tomorrow. I can tell you five years ago, we found more than 50 active nests in our territory.

JIM WILLIAMS: That's when ComEd workers built platforms for the Eagles and osprey so they can nest safely. 50 years ago, the bald Eagle was an endangered species. The bird has made a comeback. Thousands more are in existence today across the country thanks, in part, to protection efforts like this one in northern Illinois.

SARA RACE: You'd be surprised. Even in the city of Chicago, we have eagle's nests. So we have found them there in the past. So they're all over the territory.

JIM WILLIAMS: The eagle, our national symbol. ComEd will give its data to the state of Illinois, and a map will be created to show just how close the nests are to potential danger. We're live, Jim Williams "CBS2 News." Erica, Brad?

- Thank you, Jim.