The family of broad-winged hawks in an 80-foot-tall white pine tree probably wondered who called PPL Electric Utilities.
But linemen Tim Moyer and Dennis Hartman performed a different kind of customer service last week – a house call – by installing a surveillance camera in their nest at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Orwigsburg. It might seem like an invasion of privacy, but their work installing the camera will go a long way to help understand the broad-winged hawk’s habitat and behaviors.
“It’s not every day that you get to install a camera in a bird’s nest and get that close to broad-winged hawks,” said Andy Rhody, foreman in PPL Electric Utilities’ Central region. “We’ve all been to Hawk Mountain, so this was a thrill to help out the good work they do at the sanctuary.”
Moyer and Hartman also took photos while they were at the nest, which also helped provide the researchers on the ground with an instant view of the three chicks.
“Tim and Dennis did this work on their own time, another example of how our employees support the communities we serve,” Rhody said.
Broad-winged hawks build their nests on treetops in deep forests, making them difficult to study from the ground, explained Laurie Goodrich, senior monitoring biologist at Hawk Mountain.
“They have declined in southern Pennsylvania, and we’re trying to understand their habitats and what they’re feeding on,” she said. “We wanted to put cameras on a few nest sites to collect the best information on their behaviors. We were lucky this nest was located near a road.”
“You need a good neighbor like PPL that has the equipment to install a camera up in a tree,” Goodrich said. “They really went the extra mile for us.”
Now with a bird’s-eye view of the two-foot-wide nest, the people at Hawk Mountain can check in regularly on the raptors and see what they’re up to.
Goodrich said video clips will be collected and studied, and satellite transmitters will be placed on the hawks this month to track their movements and migration.
“We’re learning new things every day,” she said. “We were excited to get a camera on the nest, thanks to PPL Electric Utilities.”
For more information on the project check out the Hawk Mountain website, www.hawkmountain.org.