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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

"Quiet" guardrails protect spotted owls from percussive noise

If you think the sound of heavy pounding is hard on human ears, imagine what its like for a bird. Bald eagles, northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and other state and federally listed species, are so sensitive to percussive noise they may leave their nests, abandoning their eggs or young, if the noise gets too bad. So regulatory agencies require that actions like pile driving and guardrail-post pounding be done only during certain seasons if the noise is likely to disturb nearby protected bird species. Rather than delay guardrail installation at these locations, the Oregon Department of Transportation specifies that guardrail posts be augured instead of driven. Auguring causes no percussive noise and can be done any time of the year.
--Apr 25, 2003

Molly Cary, (503) 986-6924 or

Spotted owl
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
Spotted owl

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Along Roads - Oregon
Updated: 12/12/2012
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