A lightpole and a crow

I’m not sure what woke me up Saturday morning at exactly 8:45. As exhausted as I was, I had planned to sleep in as long as possible, figuring I’d catch up with all the hoopla in Norfolk later in the day.

But wake up I did. And as is customary, I rolled over to look at my bedside clock to check the time. It wasn’t on. Uh oh.

I woke my other half and for a bit we tried to figure out if it was a breaker or something. Nope. Called neighbor Larry – seems his power was out, too. So I put in a call to Dominion Virginia Power, grabbed a Diet Coke – since there was no way to make coffee and I needed my caffeine – and headed out to my car to listen to the hoopla on the radio.  (Sirius in the car is great, BTW.) I happened to notice a dead crow at the end of my driveway, but didn’t think anything of it. With all the wildlife around here, I figured maybe a fox had gotten it.

After listening to the hoopla, I went back inside and grabbed the paper. Done. Still hadn’t heard from Dominion and still no power, but when I called, they said 2-3 hours. It had been about two. I tried to find things to amuse myself but it was hard – much of what I do requires power, including just checking Twitter. My cell signal (and that of any cell carrier) is really, really bad, which is why I have a WiFi-enabled phone. But no power meant no WiFi. So I was walking around from place to place, trying to get a strong enough signal to at least check Twitter.

Just as I was about to call Dominion, my phone rang. It was Dominion, checking to see if my power was back on. Nope. Check the breakers – none tripped. Check the main breaker – turn it off and then back on, I was instructed. Still nothing. The lady says they will send the truck back out.

So I head outside to let my neighbor, who was wisely using the time doing yard work, know what I had been told. He had seen the Dominion truck drive by but didn’t stop it. I reminded him of Hurricane Isabel – and that the light pole at the end of our driveways serviced only three homes – his, mine, and the neighbor on the other side of me.

That’s when he mentioned the crow. He said it looked like the crow had been burned. I don’t do dead animals so I didn’t look. As we stood outside chatting, the power truck showed back up and I waived him down. First thing out of his mouth, “Y’all need to train your birds better.”

Seems it was the crow that shorted the power line. He hadn’t noticed it before when he came to our street – without an address, I might add. He told us he had asked one of our neighbors if he had power – of course that neighbor did, he wasn’t on the same pole as us. After another 30 minutes or so, the power was back on.

I had no idea that a bird could short a power line. But now that I know, I’ll be looking for that culprit the next time. Half a day without power – and the other half catching up on the hoopla.


3 thoughts on “A lightpole and a crow

  1. Oh, yes! And squirrels, too. Worst of all down here is when the fire ants decide they’re going to move into one of those switch boxes that are scattered around. A bushel-basket full of ants can disrupt a whole lot of people!

  2. The irony! I was reading a back issue of Smithsonian half an hour ago and caught this: “Transformers—like power lines, poles and towers—provide elevated perches, but they may also produce heat. A bird can perch on a high-voltage line safely, but as soon as it makes secondary contact with a conductor that leads to a ground, it will be fried. Large birds taking flight or producing “streamers” of fecal material often complete the circuit to their demise.” Russell Greenberg, Wildlife Biologist, Migratory Bird Center, National Zoo

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