Support Your Raptors

A less perilous perch.

Majestic desert birds are some of the Tucson area’s most important (and cool-looking, let’s be honest) wildlife. They’re also pretty adaptable. When our growing city encroached on their natural habitat, local raptors took advantage of abundant small prey and water in urban areas and began using utility poles as vantage points for perching, hunting and socializing. But this viewpoint can prove fatal when these large birds make contact with dangerous electrical equipment.

The bird guard squad

For more than 15 years, TEP has teamed up with the University of Arizona and Arizona Game & Fish Department to develop creative ways to keep birds safe while also affording them the nesting locations they need.

UA researchers have learned that raptors are at the highest risk when their nests are within 300 meters of energized equipment. Our effort to install state-of-the-art bird guards on equipment within this proximity has led to a dramatic reduction in avian electrocutions.

On the lookout

Keeping up with raptors isn’t always easy. While they prefer to use the same nest year after year, they’re sometimes forced to move if their nests are destroyed or invaded by another, larger bird. When that happens, TEP relies on UA graduate students and local residents to report the location of the new nests so we can install bird guard protections on nearby facilities. In rare cases when raptors build nests directly on our facilities, we work with Arizona Game & Fish employees to relocate those nests onto platforms built in safer locations.

UA research and annual audits show that TEP’s raptor protection program is making a real difference for the health of our local raptor population. But every nesting season brings birds into proximity of TEP facilities that may need bird-guarding.

So please, if you see evidence of a raptor nesting on or near unprotected utility equipment:

Harri's Hawk Harris' Hawk
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk