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PNM announces bird guard project

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public Service Company of New Mexico has begun using insulation, covers and other protection to prevent bird nesting and perching that can knock out power. (Courtesy of PNM)

Public Service Company of New Mexico said this week it has completed upgrades to its system, including a bird guarding project to help mitigate electricity-related avian deaths and outages at a switching station in Las Vegas.

PNM after noticing the switching station was seeing an increased number of issues related to birds developed a plan to better guard the facility.

“We have completed similar projects on other electrical facilities, and have seen a dramatic decrease of bird-related deaths and outages since implementing these tactics,” said Mike Prescott, manager for PNM substations and relay/communication, in a statement.

Crews over several months worked to better insulate wires in the switching station and putting in new equipment to discourage birds from perching or nesting, as well as also covering areas to prevent birds from getting in between equipment. The project was finished without needing to shut off power, PNM said in a news release.

The state’s largest electric utility is examining other company sites that could use similar changes to protect birds and wildlife.

PNM, which said it also shares its knowledge with other utilities to help them implement similar programs, is the founder and ongoing sponsor of the New Mexico Avian Protection Working Group. It works in conjunction with Hawks Aloft, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Rural Utility Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The group trains co-ops and other utilities throughout the Southwest on avian protection best practices.

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