ComEd Employees Take Flight Over the River and Through the Woods to Make the Skies Safer for Avian Wildlife

December 12, 2023

At this time of year, the birds that come to mind most readily might be swans-a-swimmin’ and partridges in pear trees, but ComEd’s power lines share the skies with 456 bird species in Illinois. From songbirds to osprey, we are taking steps to keep all our avian friends safe. This year, we are pleased to announce that we have installed over 1,000 bird divertors on our transmission and distribution lines to help keep our winged-friends and power lines safe.

When birds collide with power lines, it is typically when they are ascending or descending in low light conditions, such as at dawn, dusk and at night. Bird divertors are a simple, yet effective, way to help make power lines more visible for birds when they are in flight. The most common types of bird divertors used in ComEd’s service territory are reflective divertors on our distribution lines and large spirals on our transmission lines.

“At ComEd, our ongoing commitment to protecting local wildlife in our service territory is exemplified by the installation of hundreds of bird diverters on our power lines,” said Sara Race, senior manager of Environmental Management at ComEd. “This initiative is just one of the ways we work to be good environmental stewards of the communities we serve.”

Just like our bird friends, ComEd crews take flight to ensure the divertors are placed properly on our powerlines.

Our transmission overhead lineworkers take to the skies in a helicopter that is specially equipped with a platform for them to work from. While in the air, these talented professionals attach the spiral bird divertors on the power lines to make them more visible.

Other ComEd crews have begun using drones to assist with the placement of bird divertors on distribution power lines. While most of the divertors can be installed with a lift truck, some of the locations that require bird divertors are over water or in other difficult to access locations. ComEd’s drone pilots have been a crucial part of expanding the efforts of the bird divertor program in Illinois.

The installation of bird divertors is an annual practice, and more locations have been identified to receive bird divertors in 2024. This program is one of many at ComEd that helps ensure our power system stays reliable for our customers and visible to local wildlife. Learn more about ComEd’s commitment to the environment and the various programs we have in place to make a measurable difference in northern Illinois.