Our Ospreys: The Sequel

As reported yesterday, Westport’s ospreys have returned to their (relocated) nest, high above Fresh Market.

Drivers regularly stop to gawk. But busy Route 1 is not the only place in town to spot these magnificent raptors.


Three other platforms exist here. Two were created by CL&P (in their pre-Eversource days), in partnership with the Westport Conservation Commission.

CL&P set old utility poles at Longshore. One was on the right side of the exit road, near the 12th fairway. It’s hosted a nesting pair for at least 5 or 6 years.

The 2nd pole was set in the back of the guest parking lot, to the left of the marina. A pair nested there for a while last year, but seems not to have had success with eggs or chicks.

A 3rd platform exists to the east of Burying Hill Beach. In a private yard next to the seawall — erected, probably, by the homeowners — it has been home to some successful nesting ospreys.

Meanwhile, alert reader Mary Ann West reports that purple martin “scout” arrived at Sherwood Island yesterday. Scouts  venture ahead of the flock after spending the winter in South America.

Tina Green spotted the early arrival as she helped set up 24 “gourd condos” in Connecticut’s 1st state park.

purple martin at Sherwood Island

The “condos” (pictured above) consist of 12 “homes” per pole. They were established outside the Sherwood Island Nature Center last year.

The houses are removed after each nesting season, cleaned and put up just before the birds arrive. That keeps more invasive species from taking over the colony. Last year, 105 new featherless baby bird residents were monitored by volunteers.

The fledglings were banded in early July, before they prepared to fly the coop back to their wintering grounds. The Westport band is red, so if you see a bird sporting a red metallic band, it’s one of ours.

Another pole with 12 condos will be added soon, making a total of 36 purple martin couples very happy.

Sherwood Island is also home to 2 other Westport ospreys. The park’s couple — Will and Kate — are due back to their nest soon. It’s set up in the marsh outside of the Nature Center.

You can see it there — or on the “osprey cam” (click here).

The big debate in Westport these days is over affordable housing. Ospreys and purple martins seem to have solved that problem. Perhaps we can ask CL&P/Eversource and Sherwood Island to help the humans too?

The Sherwood Island "osprey cam," earlier this morning.

The Sherwood Island “osprey cam,” earlier this morning.

10 responses to “Our Ospreys: The Sequel

  1. All very cool! Thanks, Dan, for the avian report. The natural beauty and wildlife are what I love most about living in this area!

  2. Great update! I like those condos…easy to maintain and sounds like the birds love them.

  3. An osprey pair will mate for life, as long as they produce chicks. In Sanibel, Florida, one year a tagged pair left the nest sometime after their last chick fledged in the spring. One went to Tampa and the other to the east coast of Florida. They both returned to their nest within 3 days if each other the next fall. Nature is pretty amazing! By the way, maybe their secret to long “marriages” is that they have separate 6-month vacations every year!

  4. Susan Hopkins

    Dan, What a colorful (purple martin scout) and glorious way to open the day – thank you! I like and appreciate the condos; does this mean the purple martin “houses” of old are no longer used, or are they simply out of vogue? Always enjoyed the innovative and creative “architecture” of purple martin houses. Not enough words for avian couples who mate for life.

  5. Mary Ann Lindwall

    Hi Dan,

    If I am not mistaken, the two Osprey nest poles at Longshore were Eagle Scout projects for Scouts in Troop 36 in Westport. I am fairly certain as my son helped on one these projects. The pole in the gravel parking lot was the Eagle Scout project of Alex Nitkin. Just wanted to give credit for the great work of local Eagle Scouts

  6. Thanks!

  7. Emily Hamilton Laux

    There are two other places I saw Osprey nests last summer: on the Sherwood Island side of Old Mill Pond, and on Lee’s pond, not far from the new Y. (Both nests could be seen only from the water.) Westport seems to have a substantial Osprey community!

  8. sandy johnson

    How cool – yes, these creatures are wonderful Where I grew up in NJ we always had the purple martins Like CarolAnne’s comment re long marriages and the 6 mos vacation idea each year!

  9. Joyce Barnhart

    Carol Anne, I was so excited to hear about the osprey banding. We love Sanibel in part because a tree at the house we rented had a favorite perch for a male osprey. The nest was down the road a bit. We were told, on Sanibel, that it’s usually not that birds are faithful to each other , but rather that they are faithful to the nest site. I guess mutually held real estate can be a powerful incentive to stay together for all kinds of creatures, avian, human,whatever!