Crow kills power for almost 3,000 customers in Phinney Ridge
Almost 3,000 people in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood lost power Friday morning. Power was restored about an hour later, but the real story was the feathered culprit that caused the outage.
“It was a crow,” Seattle City Light spokesperson Julie Moore told KIRO Radio.
While odd, this is also not an entirely uncommon occurrence, with over 100 birds routinely causing outages in Seattle every year. Fledgling crows tend to get out more in the summer months, and because they’re less coordinated, they’ll sometimes spread their wings, touch two separate wires, and create a surge of energy that trips a circuit breaker.
Crows aren’t the only animals that can cause power outages. In 2016, a raccoon entered a substation in Ballard and disrupted service for nearly 39,000 customers. Later that year, an even weirder animal power outage took place.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was talking to the dispatcher,” City Light spokesperson Connie MacDougal said at the time. “I asked, routinely, what the cause of the outage was. He said, ‘Well, you’re not going to believe it.’ I said, ‘Was it a raccoon?’ He said, ‘No, a fish.’”
A bird apparently caught some lunch, likely from the nearby Duwamish River. But high in the sky, the fish fought for its freedom and won — briefly. The bird dropped the fish, which fell on some power lines below. It caused a power surge and, in turn, some fuses to blow. The result was a power outage for 172 customers that lasted about 2.5 hours.