Ospreys Come Home to New Nesting Platforms

by Jane Ahrens

In the past two years, the Fishers Island Electric Company has been working diligently to replace older phone poles, and during the process decided to modify several locations that had existing osprey nesting platforms in dangerous positions over high voltage wires. Utility Co. President Chris Finan approached Museum Director Pierce Rafferty proposing that the relocation of five osprey nests would minimize the dangers to Electric Co. workers operating near protective ospreys, and help minimize damage to FIUC infrastructure from potential platform collapses and dropped sticks above live wires. An additional factor was that the ospreys themselves were at increased risk after recent equipment changes. A Museum committee formed to focus on moving five osprey nests and platforms to new poles in safer locations. This committee, including Pierce, Ken Edwards, Jeff Edwards and Steve Malinowski, immediately consulted with osprey expert Rob Bierregaard. (Rob is the ornithologist who tagged Fishers Island’s two ospreys, “Charlie” and “Edwin.”) Rob was 100% behind the relocation of the nests to platforms atop poles as close to the original sites as possible.

Jay Cushing, superintendent of electric operations at the FI Utility Company wrote, “In coordination with Pierce Rafferty and Jeff Edwards we created a plan that will be a better solution for our high voltage system, and of course the birds. We decided to install dedicated nesting sites at these locations. One location is a new pole at the end of the driving range, this is the OspreyCam location. The other is just south of Chocomount Beach. This will create a more stable atmosphere and prevent the possibility of the ospreys coming into contact with the 8320-volt circuit.

“Along with the two Museum-funded poles, the Electric Company has donated its time and labor to build and install two more nesting platforms on guy wire poles.  These locations, chosen by Jeff Edwards, have no electrical circuits and will be a nice nesting spot just east of “top of the world”.” Click on any photo to see a larger version.

The H.L. Ferguson Museum’s OspreyCam is live and has a different configuration that faces west. A new pole for the nest was put up by the Utility Co. and the nest was moved away from its prior location above wires. The camera, still on the same pole as last year, was swiveled around to face west, and now shows more of the road and recreation path in the background. A single osprey (likely the male) touched down on this nest last week, but the pair was first spotted on the nest over Easter weekend. Watch it here, or click on the photo below.


Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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