A wild wedge-tailed eagle has ironically threatened to bring a raptor demonstration to a halt in Myrniong, as organisers educated the community the impact of overhead transmission lines on the region’s abundant birds of prey.

The day was organized by the Pentland Hills Landcare Group with demonstrations by the Leigh Valley Owl and Hawk Sanctuary.

The wild wedgie hovered overhead for at least half an hour – within view of the sanctuary’s wary Peregrine Falcon ‘Asterix’, Australian Kestrel ‘Jedda’ and Barn Owl ‘Alkina’.

Educator Martin Scuffins (above left) said it was a sign of just how many raptors lived in the area.

He also said Myrniong was a ‘hotspot’ for the threatened Little Eagle.

Mr Scuffins encouraged locals to ask the developers of the 190km high-voltage line about any avian mitigation plans.

“I’d also ask Ausnet if they are prepared to pay $10,000 per bird if they strike powerlines,” he said.

“It will be up to DELWP to police this.”

About 100 people from areas including Ballan and Bacchus Marsh attended – many armed with cameras.

Landcare member Anthony Dufty told the crowd he feared a 29km biolink costing $1.7 million would be destroyed if the 500kV overhead transmission lines were given the nod.

The biolink follows three local creeks and gives native species a green ‘pathway’ between the Lerderderg and Werribee Gorge state parks.

The raptor education day was part of a wider campaign to raise awarness of the impact of proposed transmission lines

Ausnet has told locals some of the pylons carrying the wind-generated electricity would be up to 80m high and need an easement of at least 65m.

“We will have to bring the message to the City about what is at risk here,” Mr Dufty said.

“This is not true green energy.

“More people in Melbourne need to know the issues out here.

“It may be cheap energy for people in the city, but at what cost?”

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Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

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