Could swans be causing power outages in Oakland County?

DTE is looking at swan flight diverters to increase bird’s visibility

There have been increased power outages around Cass Lake in Oakland County lately. It doesn't appear to be faulty wires or old transformers but swans flying into the lines. And when it happens, it's not pretty.

DETROIT – There have been increased power outages around Cass Lake in Oakland County lately. It doesn’t appear to be faulty wires or old transformers but swans flying into the lines. And when it happens, it’s not pretty.

The video seen in the video player above is startling as a Mute swan was captured flying into a power line.

“They’re big birds, so when they hit, It’s not good,” said Kate Knoll of the Legacy Dermatology Group.

Not only does it leave a gruesome swan carcass behind, but the jolt to the power lines disrupts power to homes and businesses in the area.

“Luckily, we had hot spots, so we were still able to see patients, but it was a big headache being on the phone and trying to get people in, but it was a couple of days until we didn’t have any issues,” Knoll said.

“It’s super frustrating because you’ll be on a Zoom business call, and then it goes out, and then that resets my internet,” said neighbor Katie Rock. “Sometimes it just grounds out for a minute, and then it’s out for like five minutes.”

It’s been happening most often right on the border of Keego Harbor and Waterford Township, where Cass and Sylvan lakes come together. While the DNR does consider mute swans to be an invasive species, this is obviously not option one for ridding them.

“I wish there was some kind of solution because they’re beautiful,” Rock said. “They don’t hurt anyone, and if you leave them alone, they leave you alone.”

It also poses a safety issue for DTE Energy, which told Jason Colthorp, “DTE Energy is exploring a number of measures to hopefully prevent future occurrences of birds coming in contact with our lines, both for the welfare of the wildlife and to help ensure consistent power for homes and businesses in the area.”

I hope that they can relocate the animals or do something so that it doesn’t continuously happen, and we have issues with our residential area and our business,” Knoll said.

Environmentalists are hoping DTE invests in swan flight diverters which go on overhead lines to increase their visibility to the birds.


About the Authors:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.