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How one company is working to protect precious birds and powerlines

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — Protecting precious birds and protecting our powerlines.

Some biologists took flight in a helicopter on Tuesday to do just that. CBS 2’s Jim Williams explained Tuesday.

Eagles and osprey are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and they’re under the watchful eye of scientists who are making sure they’re safe.

“Today, we have two wildlife biologists in a helicopter flying the ComEd territory, which is basically all of northern Illinois,” said Sara Race of ComEd.

The biologists covering that wide area are looking for eagle and osprey nests, hoping to protect them from electrocution and protect ComEd service from powerline damage.

“We want to have reliable power and it protects the birds so it’s helping both ends,” Race said.

The biologists were in the air 10 hours Monday, 10 hours Tuesday and they’ll be back it at again Wednesday. How many nests were found so far?

“We won’t know exactly what we find until the end of the day tomorrow. I can tell you five years ago, we found more than 50 active nests in our territory,” Race said.

ComEd workers build platforms for the eagles and osprey so they can nest safely.

Fifty years ago, the bald eagle was an endangered species. The bird has made a comeback and thousands more are in existence today across the country.

Thanks in part to protection effort like the one in northern Illinois.

“You’d be surprised, even in the city of Chicago, we have found eagles nests. We have found them there in the past. So they are all over the territory,” Race said.

The eagle, our national symbol. ComEd gives its survey to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. A map will be created to show how close nests are to potential danger.

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