Robin Relocation Mission a Success on the GNP

A baby robin in it's nest has it's mouth open wide to receive food from it's mother.

When an American robin and its lone chick decided to make their home in one of our tracked utility vehicles on the Great Northern Peninsula, it was time for some extra thinking and attention to ensure the stowaway songbirds were unharmed.

One early August day, Jim Decker, maintenance supervisor with Hydro, discovered a nest containing one egg tucked away amongst the vehicle’s lifting machinery. He knew exactly what to do, starting with implementing the company’s standard operating procedure for encounters with nesting birds, which included creating a buffer zone around the nest and notifying Hydro’s environmental department.

The regional operations crew — not wanting to disturb the nest and its sensitive occupants — considered the options. The initial plan was to cordon off the area and try their best to avoid using that particular piece of equipment, while keeping an eye over time for the egg to hatch and the chick to eventually vacate the nest. However, some urgent work arose that required use of the vehicle. That called for a “Plan B” — and some true teamwork.

Gus Loder, Environmental Advisor with Hydro, helped relocate the robin’s nest.

Enter Hydro’s Environment team, who first assisted in obtaining the appropriate federal permit allowing us to relocate the nest. Meanwhile, some of the dedicated, innovative staff in the St. Anthony maintenance department built a purpose-made box and stand for the robins. Hydro’s Safety, Heath & Environmental Advisor, Gus Loder, helped lead the relocation effort from there. Gus had a plan, and he put it into action. He’d gradually begin moving the nest, by the shortest of distances each day so that the adult robin wouldn’t be deterred and abandon it.

By now, the chick had hatched and needed regular feeding from its parent to survive. Gus took great caution to, first, shift the nest to the movable stand. Over the next 2 days, he maneuvered it in small increments from the vehicle to the nearby tree line, while monitoring and making sure mom always returned to the nest before the next move.

Patience and care paid off, as the nest was moved to safety, and mother and baby were just fine.

“Delivering electricity safely and reliably  is our job as a company, but we also have standard procedures in place to ensure that we’re doing what’s right and doing whatever we can to protect fish and wildlife in our activities,” says Gus. “It’s great to be able to work together and make a positive difference in that way.”