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Wild Kingdom

Jun 16, 2011 8:00 PM by David Sherman

Power outage triggered by dead deer on power line

NorthWestern Energy officials confirm that a fawn dropped by a bald eagle on to a power line was responsible for Wednesday morning's power outage in East Missoula.

Lee Bridges was outside taking photographs of a bald eagle sitting in the tree above her house and told us while she sees the eagles fly by all the time, her tree is not usually a stopping point.

She noted, "They never come over here and when it perched up in that tree, I thought, 'I gotta get pictures or nobody's gonna believe me!'"

Bridges soon noticed the power was out inside her house and a NorthWestern Energy crew was already working in the alley nearby.

She recalled, "I said, ‘What was the problem?' So he rolls down the window and he points up in the air right over my head at this power line and goes, 'You see that?' And I look up and he goes, 'You've got a deer with wings.'"

It was the body of a baby fawn. Northwestern Energy and Bridges determined the bald eagle dropped its breakfast on its way back to the nest.

"It was just a great big coincidence that I happened to be taking pictures of the eagle and my husband put together, 'Oh, the eagle, the fawn. Get it?' And yes, I got it. It was just a really bizarre incident," Bridges said.


(First Report) A power outage in East Missoula on Wednesday was triggered by a dead deer on a power line.

Lee Bridges sent us these pictures and tells us that the tiny fawn was caught by a bald eagle.

Bridges said that when the power went out, she took her three Shelties outside and noticed the eagle perched atop a nearby spruce tree, noting "that was a first."

She said that several eagles have a nest across the river in a standing dead tree, and while she has seen them fly overhead on occasion, she never saw an eagle land that close.

According to Bridges, the eagle had already partially gutted its meal and then lifted off with the fawn clenched in its talons, and then apparently dropped the fawn right on the power line, triggering the power outage.

A NorthWestern Energy crew was called out to restore power and noticed the carcass hanging on the line; one of the workers noted the burn spot on the wires where the fawn made contact, causing the power outage.

The NWE crew removed the carcass, and had power restored within about 30 minutes.

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