Skip to comments.Ospreys Forced to Feather Their Nests in the Oddest of Westport Places
Posted on 04/21/2014 2:42:28 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Necessity has become the mother of invention for certain birds of prey looking for a place to lay their eggs and raise their young as their natural habitats are lost to development.
Local ospreys, for instance, are getting creative about selecting nesting sites in the wild ... or not-so-wild sites in the area.
Pairs of ospreys, one of North America's largest birds of prey with a wing span of up to six feet, are currently building nests in densely developed sites in the region. One of the couples is weaving branches together atop a utility pole along busy Post Road East in Westport between Terrain and Fresh Market, and another pair is working on new digs at the top of a light tower at Sullivan Field in Fairfield's South Pine Creek recreation complex.
Ospreys -- also known as sea hawks, as well as similar nicknames, for their fishing prowess -- are most frequently seen nesting in platforms in the waters of Long Island Sound and near shore, but they are increasingly settling on non-traditional sites because the prime osprey real estate is taken, according to Milan Bull, senior director of science and conservation for the Connecticut Audubon Society.
Because the birds' numbers have rebounded to historic levels, after their populations plummeted in the 1950s through the early 1970s because of the impact from DDT and other poisonous pesticides, there is a shortage of nesting areas "so they are expanding their nesting range and they're beginning to nest in lots of bizarre places, including on the ground. Now they're nesting in what I would call subprime locations, the low-rent district," Bull joked.
"They're getting very creative about where they're putting nests. Population pressure is moving them north," said Mike Horn, a volunteer for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
"All the low-hanging fruit, as far as available nesting sites, has been picked. All the classic, preferred osprey nesting places have been occupied so the next generation of ospreys is struggling to find really good sites," Bull said.
Any high vantage point that ospreys feel is within an easy distance of some fish resource they will take, he said. They prefer tall structures with horizontal beams and flat sections. Bull added that the birds will return to the same nest and build on it each year.
It's survival of the fittest. The strongest, most experienced birds get the best nest sites and the younger, more inexperienced birds get the less attractive, less desirable, less safe places to build their nests, he said.
"They're on navigation buoys, they're on cell towers, they're on telephone poles, they're even on the ground. There's such a shortage of places for them to nest they're looking anywhere," he said. None of the ospreys, like a pair in Norwalk, that have attempted to nest on the ground have done so successfully. Usually raccoons, skunks or other predators get to the eggs before they can hatch, Bull said.
People visiting Sullivan Field are surprised to see an osprey pair in the unusual nesting site considering the sports activities and the crowds of people directly below. "All this noise. I wonder if the ball ever goes up there," wondered Vicki Hyde, as she watched a recent softball game. Hyde enjoys having the birds nearby. "Nature's neat. It's amazing when it's right here," she said.
Ospreys are also becoming more human-tolerant. They were shy when their population began increasing again. "Now they're becoming more habituated to people," Bull said.
The nest on Post Road East in Westport is not a particularly good location, "but something's there that definitely attracted this pair of birds," he said. At the very least, their nest selection has created an educational opportunity, her said.
"People will focus on it. That's what's happened in other areas around the state. People begin to show ownership of their ospreys," he said. Bull recommends enjoying the birds while they are nesting and fledging, if the female lays eggs there. If it's a young pair this may be a trial run this year, he said.
Ospreys lay their eggs by the end of April. The raptors will sit on the eggs until they hatch about 29 days later. Then, about seven weeks after hatching the fledglings will fly off.
Bull said he is often asked by people what they can do to protect the birds. The ospreys and other migratory birds are already protected by state and federal laws. No one can remove the nests in non-traditional places without a permit, he said.
For more information about ospreys and to find a link to Connecticut Audubon's "osprey cam," visit: http://bit.ly/1jL3SP0
BS....this bird is here cause this bird wants to be here,period.
Yup, Maryland just had to destroy a Federally-protected Osprey nest for the SECOND time because the birds LOVE the view provided by the top of a traffic-cam pole.
Impossible. Birds of prey cannot adapt. See the spotted owl.
Good ol’ Westport, the other richest town in Fairfield County, next to Greenwich/Old Greenwich.
Good luck, birdies!
Telephone poles are status quo nesting places for Osprey’s in South Florida.
Here in NW Florida, our ospreys lay eggs in January and it is about six weeks until the chicks are big enough to see above the nest. The parents feed them for five more months. The chicks are as big as the parents when they finally chase them from the nest.
We enjoyed watching a pair that nested behind our house, for several years. A hurricane destroyed the nest and they didn’t re-build it that year. They moved across the bayou and we had to watch with binoculars....not nearly as much fun. We could still hear the baby screaming for his food though.
Doesn’t Imus call the area *Whiteport*? :D
“Doesnt Imus call the area *Whiteport*? :D”
“And, why not? It is nowhere near to, nor lower than the Mason-Dixon line! Last time I was there, there were no evocations of Ebonics to assail my ears.”
Heh. A bunch of activists from Bridgeport complained that non-residents could not access the beaches in *Whiteport* ....so in their wisdom...town fathers decided to make available daily use permits for non-residents to a mere $50/day. Some places the parking charge is $30. in addition to the beach access pass.
A deal, if I ever heard one.
left out source:
“Heh. A bunch of activists from Bridgeport complained that non-residents could not access the beaches in *Whiteport* ....so in their wisdom...town fathers decided to make available daily use permits for non-residents to a mere $50/day. Some places the parking charge is $30. in addition to the beach access pass.
A deal, if I ever heard one.”
If you are not aware, SouthEast Connecticut habitable beaches are far and few between. They are not flowing seashores of flattened golden sand, without a piece of seaweed, no clams squirting up, no stones bigger than a pebble, or the aroma of either Caribbean or Pacific waters.
The Connecticut shoreline sits on a large protected bay, called Long Island Sound, border with Lond Island on the South, and the New York City islands on the West. The entire area was created by glacial action that ended with the formation of the ‘backbone’ (all 300 feet above sea level) of Long Island.
So, what does that mean? Dark sand, smelly water, stones, lots of them, and lots of storm and current delivered debris.
Ned Coll....is that you?