‘Birds of Prey’: New safety video for tower workers

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W0PV, May 8, 2020.

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  1. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    As we are entering a new "tower climbing season", and have lots of "stay home" time on our hands, I thought this professional article and video would be informative for radio amateurs as well.

    Good DX and STAY SAFE !!

    73, John, WØPV


    ‘Birds of Prey’: New safety video for tower workers

    Watertown, SD — A new video from NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association highlights the importance of hazard and environmental awareness among tower technicians who might encounter birds of prey nesting on communications towers.

    Birds such as eagles, ospreys, ravens and crows roost in more than 7,500 towers across the United States. Raptor ecology expert Marco Restani, who offers insight throughout the four-minute video, calls the “best-case scenario” one in which the tower owner or carrier already has informed workers that a nest exists, allowing them to plan accordingly.

    If that isn’t the case, video host Ryan Van Duzer, a travel video journalist, advises workers to consult an avian biologist to help identify the species and develop a site-specific plan before beginning work.

    Restani recommends workers be aware of the basics of two pieces of federal legislation likely to influence their procedure. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 prohibits workers from ascending towers with eagles’ nests without a permit. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, workers can operate on towers with nests “as long as they don’t disrupt on purpose the eggs, the young or the adults.”

    Further, workers should be mindful that state laws may be more stringent than federal laws. Among species commonly encountered on towers, great horned owls are “by far the most dangerous birds to climbers,” says Restani, who recommends not working where these birds are nesting. Red-tailed hawks are the next most dangerous, and Restani says he “generally wouldn’t worry too much about” attacks from ospreys or eagles.

    “Like always, there are differences between individuals, and so you should always keep an eye out when you’re climbing a tower,” Restani says.

    Climbers should remember to remain tied off at all times, being mindful that birds typically approach from behind and target a climber’s head or shoulders. The strike of some larger birds can knock the victim unconscious.

    Additional guidance:
    1. Work in teams of two, with one worker acting as the spotter while the other ascends the tower.
    2. If attacked, take shelter where available. Put your head in a covered place or move behind an antenna mount.
    3. Birds may still attack once you have reached the top of the tower. Climb with a long object such as an umbrella or large stick to protect yourself and deflect birds away as they approach.
    The video is the latest in NATE’s Climber Connection series, which promotes safe work practices for communication tower workers. The association asks climbers and other industry stakeholders to use the hashtag #ClimberConnection when posting the video on social media platforms.

    KI6HJU, TG8AKV, KC0KEK and 16 others like this.
  2. W5TTP

    W5TTP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice video! Not only are some birds dangerous due to their aggressive nature, after all, it is their home that they are protecting, but climbing through gallons of bird droppings can be a health hazard. Not too wise to eat a sandwich once you get to the top!
    KG7A, KC2MBB, KE8OIR and 5 others like this.
  3. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Red tailed hawks have a ubiqitous range and and have become a co-urban species, hunting on chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, mice, and other assorted small critters. What makes them dangerous is they are relatively fearless , as noted here. You commonly see them sitting on top of light poles, eyeing the road and easy pickens'. If there are no easy trees to nest in, they certainly frequent cell towers. Having one go for your face at 150 feet is NOT a fun exercise (I am told). This video does a great job to help anticipate what you are in for.

    Drones are commonly used to check out what type of nests are about before climbs. Fairly common with active nests to have birds attack the drone!

    Better the drone than the climber:)!
    NL7W, N6YT, KG7A and 1 other person like this.
  5. W0DGH

    W0DGH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great information. In the late 70's two of us had to climb a water tower to repair a float level indicator. The deck was at the 100' level with an open ladder up to the roof access another 15' above. On the deck was a Red Tail Hawk nest with two very ugly chicks guarded by a very aggressive parent.
    My co-worker entered the tank while I sat on the top of the ladder and manned the safety lines and tool lines. I knew I would be dealing with a hawk that very much wanted to drive me off of that tower and it was a very tedious job managing the tools while waving off numerous attacks by the hawk, some being extremely close to my head.
    We finished the job without injury but I won't be involved with that again. If there is a nest it would be best to leave the job until the chicks have fledged and left the nest.
    NN9J, WB5THT and N0CEL like this.
  6. WN1MB

    WN1MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    With many hours aloft, I've never had to deal with bird of prey or otherwise.

    However, on numerous occasions a different winged creature made climbs and work potentially life threatening: bees.
    KG7A, W5TTP, W1TRY and 2 others like this.
  7. K3LI

    K3LI Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have a buzzard on mine waiting for me to make a mistake.
    NO7GX, W3PH, KN4VGP and 6 others like this.
  8. KD4MOJ

    KD4MOJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not exactly bird of prey.... but....

    These guys (paper wasp) eat electrical tape :


    They are attracted to towers for some reason (at least here in the South). Every time I climbed I encountered their nests.

    KG7A and W1TRY like this.
  9. K9GLS

    K9GLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was attacked by a buzzard. Beat the living h*** out of me. I divorced her soon after that.
    K4KID, AB0ZB, NO7GX and 22 others like this.
  10. WJ4U

    WJ4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's one way to keep her from climbing on your tower.
    KG7A and W5TTP like this.

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