Reader Anita Aldrich posed this question:

On the west side of 61st Street between the freeway and Heards Lane, there are some “doodads” or “dangles” (for want of a better word) on the wires between the utility poles.

They are of two types: one like small coils regularly spaced along the wire, the other little spiral dangles hanging down from the wire, also regularly spaced.

Any idea what these are or what they’re for? I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

Yes, we do have an idea.

The dangly and the coil-like doodads installed on power lines along the west side of 61st Street are devices designed to keep pelicans from flying into the lines, Keith Gray, a spokesman for CenterPoint Energy, said.

The devices make the lines easier for pelicans to see, which help them avoid flying into the lines, Gray said.

These are installed for the benefit of the birds, not the benefit of the lines, he said.

“We try to be friendly to the environment,” Gray said. “We have an avian specialist on staff — he’s degreed and everything — who keeps us in compliance with things like that.”

The waters of Offatts and English bayous, which lie east and west of 61st Street, are favorite fishing spots for pelicans.

The devices also are installed along the Pelican Island Bridge and in some places along the seawall, Gray said.


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