The photo shows a digger derrick hoisting a pole above high grass near the edge of a lake. The pole has a crossarm on it, but it’s nowhere near the right-of-way. What’s going on here?

The pole is one of three perches Rusk County Electric Cooperative put up in 2014 after an eagle’s nest was found in a dead pine tree along Martin Lake. The lake is popular for picnicking, bass fishing, boating, and water skiing. The state park there draws campers from Longview, Henderson—where the co-op is headquartered— and Shreveport, La.

Luminant Mining Company, which owns and operates an electric generation plant near the lake, needed a new power line built along the edge of the lake, which is in Rusk County Electric service territory. Both Luminant and Rusk County Electric prioritize eagle safety, so they devised a plan to install underground primary lines in the birds’ flyways where they approach and leave their nest. All overhead poles in the area were equipped with raptor protection to discourage eagles and other birds from perching on the crossarms. The three “perch poles” were installed as extra protection.

“They give the birds an attractive and safe place to survey the lake as they fish for their dinner,” says Charlene McMillen, senior engineering assistant at Rusk County Electric.

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