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The bird’s the word, or rather, what’s left of the bird.

It was a scattered pile of gray feathers in the 700 block of Jordan Road that tipped off one Sedona homeowner to the source of the Uptown power outage which left thousands without electricity Monday, Aug. 3.

The three Arizona Public Service trucks and technicians working in her front yard at 8 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 5, also provided a clue.

“There was a huge pile of gray feathers in my yard, but I didn’t go near them,” said Alison Ecklund, Sedona Red Rock News city reporter.

Technicians at the scene told Ecklund a bird managed to wedge itself between the cross arm of a pole where two wires that should never touch are attached, connecting them by its electrocution.

In addition to repairing the connection, technicians told Ecklund they were also moving wires and equipment to significantly increase the distance between the two wires so such a mishap can’t happen in the future.

The workers were on scene making repairs until around 2 p.m., Ecklund said.

The unlucky bird caused no end of grief.

Activities at residences and businesses around Uptown and in Oak Creek Canyon came to a standstill when the lights went off and all of the power needed to operate computers and television sets quit shortly before noon.

Most of the estimated 2,300 APS customers were impacted from 11:44 a.m. until 1:18 p.m., though others were brought back online incrementally throughout the afternoon, said Damon Gross, an APS public information official.

“We had everybody back up by around 5 p.m.,” Gross said.

Tourists milling around Uptown had a hard time finding places to use their credit cards, suggesting a potential loss of thousands of dollars of sales for Uptown retailers.

Some business owners who asked not to be identified said they were forced to teach teenage counter help how to figure the right amount of change without the aid of a cash register or calculator.

On the upside, traffic on State Route 89A continued to move smoothly despite, or maybe because of, the loss of the traffic signal at Forest Road.

APS trucks, on the scene within 15 minutes of the first report, circled Uptown neighborhoods trying to find the source of the problem for days.

“It wasn’t immediately obvious,” Grossman said.

Initially, APS told customers that a line leading to Uptown from a transfer station in West Sedona failed, but the cause was unknown. Grossman confirmed Thursday, Aug. 6, the outage was caused by a bird.

Greg Ruland can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 127, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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