Tag, you’re it

“I live out on Little Walluski, so I travel Highway 202 quite a bit,” Ned Wood wrote to the Ear last August. “About a year ago I noticed a few sections of power lines that have numerous tabs, clips, and things attached to them ... I was wondering if anybody knew what these things are, and why they are on just a few sections of power lines.” His photos of the tags are shown.

The sections he’s talking about are between Williamsport Road and the Clatsop County Fairgrounds. The Ear dashed off an email to Pacific Power to ask what the thingamajigs are, and waited for a reply. And waited. And waited.

Finally, the Ear emailed Ken Nelson, city of Astoria Public Works superintendent — who replied immediately. “If they are next to Youngs Bay or an adjacent wetland (which they are), it may be so waterfowl see the wires to avoid them,” he wrote. Of course. That made sense.

A little research revealed that the tags are actually called bird or avian diverters. The particular type pictured appears to be the P&R Tech FireFly FF Bird Flapper/Diverter (http://tinyurl.com/awaybird).

Developed by an avian biologist, they reflect in daylight and glow in the dark, and even emit UV light only birds can see in low light or foggy conditions. The tags keep bats away from power lines, too, and can withstand high winds, to boot. And, in case you’re wondering — yes, they work.

— Elleda Wilson

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