Birds In the News

Dominion Energy, Audubon South Carolina collaborate to install wildlife tracking towers

The tower installations are to support migratory bird research and protection throughout the state.

This article originally appeared on WCBD News 2 Charleston on December 14, 2021.

On Tuesday, Dominion Energy and Audubon Energy announce the installation of two Motus wildlife tracking towers in the Midlands and Lowcountry areas.

The tower installations are to support migratory bird research and protection throughout the state.

“Migratory birds face threats during all stages of the annual cycle, and these threats are accelerating,” says Angelina Ricci Eisenhauer, Audubon South Carolina’s interim executive director. “Motus data is helping us better understand birds’ migratory pathways, so we can do more to protect them, and the habitat they rely on, throughout their full lifecycles.”

The two towers were installed at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary in Aiken and the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest in Harleyville.

“Normally when we erect towers and deploy technology it is to provide safe and reliable energy to our customers,” says Keller Kissam, president-Electric Operations at Dominion Energy South Carolina. “What a privilege it is to erect towers in a collaborative effort with the Audubon Society to monitor, appreciate and learn more about the unique migratory species that repeatedly return to South Carolina and make it the natural wonder it is from the mountains to the sea.”

Organizations throughout the state including the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service along with schools, universities, and non-profit organizations – are working jointly to create networks that canvas the state that track priority species and their migratory routes.

“We know Audubon South Carolina’s wildlife sanctuaries provide important habitat for many of our most vulnerable bird species,” says Jennifer McCarthy Tyrrell, Audubon South Carolina’s engagement manager, who is helping lead these Motus efforts. “Through Motus, we are finding out just how connected and vital this habitat, and others like it, really are for birds across the hemisphere. Dominion Energy’s contribution to the South Carolina Motus tower network is an important investment in migration research, habitat conservation, and the future of our birds.” 

The data collected from the tracking towers will be used to mitigate threats and save habitats and resources for the migrating birds.

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