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Turkeys Culprit In Series Of Medford Blackouts

Theodore Scott (power lines); Brian Bull (turkey)
Flickr.com, KLCC

Utility officials and Medford locals are trying to resolve a series of power outages caused by wild turkeys.

Since early November, the gobblers have caused four such outages, aggravating more than 1,600 customers every time.  

Tom Gauntt is a spokesman for Pacific Power.  He says there’s talk underway on addressing a flock living near some power lines.

“Every so often they flutter around and cause this outage.  Sometimes unfortunately, it results in a turkey fatality," Gauntt tells KLCC.  

"(Oregon Department of) Fish & Wildlife don’t want anyone just to go in there and clear out the turkeys in a vigilante-type way.  Basically there’s some protections we can put on the equipment there….ah, sleeves.  It won’t stop them from flying into the wires, but it can protect the connections.” 

The turkeys can’t be legally hunted within Medford city limits.  Wildlife biologists say one problem factoring into the outages is people feeding the birds, which encourages them to flock and gather in urban areas.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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