Lineman Helps Rescue Falcon Tangled in Power Lines

A falcon with a string tied around its feet became entangled on an SCE pole.

November 06, 2013 | By Nancy Rodriguez Casanova

Steven Purtle has been a lineman for 25 years at Southern California Edison (SCE) and he’s had his share of animal encounters during that time, but nothing like a falcon rescue he took part in recently.

Purtle was dispatched to Jurupa Road and Feldspar Drive in Jurupa Valley on Oct. 24 when he found a distressed falcon attempting to unravel itself from a string tied around its feet that had become entangled on the pole.

“I had to climb up and rescue the bird. My truck was too far back,” said Purtle, who says he parked his truck as close as possible to rescue the falcon. “I was about eight feet away from the bird.”

Purtle says he’s come across bobcats, hawks and ravens during his time as a troubleman at SCE. He used a grip all stick to help untie the falcon from the string on its feet. He attached a cutting tool at the end of the stick and it allowed him to safely cut the string from the falcon’s feet.

There were 1200 volts of electricity on the power line, said Purtle, who works out of the Redlands area. Purtle was able to safely retrieve the falcon without de-energizing the line and thus, no customers lost power during the rescue.

The bird named Layla has since been reunited with its owner who safely recovered the bird from the Jurupa Valley Animal Shelter, according to the Riverside Press Enterprise.