Osprey Nest Is Down. What’s Up With That?

Westport loves its ospreys. The pair that nest next to Fresh Market — right there on the main drag — are particularly well known and admired.

They returned from their southern home last week.  Today, several Westporters noted with distress that the nest is gone.

Lindsay and Nick from Earth Animal — across the street from the tall pole — emailed “06880”:

The osprey nest was taken down early this morning. The maintenance crew are driving around a crane today so we believe this was done by the landlords.

It has been heartbreaking to see the osprey circling around the area that was once their home, not knowing what to do. They are carrying large sticks and trying to rebuilt and are even attempting to built on their old home location on the telephone pole. The osprey are loved by our community and we are not sure how to help them. Do you have an idea?

This still image from a video shot by Sam Levenson shows the ospreys as they circled what used to be their nests.

(Photo from video by Sam Levenson)

Here’s a close-up view of the now-bare nest:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

A few years ago Eversource moved the nest, from one pole to a less dangerous one.

There are no details on this move. If any “06880” readers have information — or know how to help the ospreys — click “Comments” below.

85 responses to “Osprey Nest Is Down. What’s Up With That?

  1. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    Call wildlife in crisis and see if they can help/offer any advice as to nesting materials that can be put out for the ospreys. In the meantime, please call the idiot landlord and tell them to leave it alone!!! Or they’re going to have to have the entire town and then some to answer to!!

  2. Who is the landlord?

  3. How do you know this?

  4. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    I posted a comment/suggestion? It didn’t go through? Call wildlife in crisis and ask for their suggestions. Or, put out materials for nest building and the osprey will pick it up. Then call the landlord and ask him to leave it alone!!!

  5. It’s not clear who removed the nest. Eversource did it last time. Not sure about this time.

  6. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    Correct!! I see that my first comment went through.

    An osprey nest may only be removed when it is inactive, or in danger. As was the case when Eversource moved it – they relocated it to a safer spot. This guy broke a federal law.

  7. Fiona Hodgson

    I’ll never shop at Terrain again, if they removed the best! There are several Wildlife rescue organizations around. We should contact Defenders of Wildlife. If the platform is replaced, the ospreys will rebuild!

    • Fiona Boughton

      Terrain was the first on the scene, within minutes of this occurrence. All information on the persons involved in this was handed over by Terrain to the CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, who responded and now have a wildlife biologist involved in order to protect the welfare of these birds immediately.

  8. If Fresh Market is, in fact, responsible for the platform removal it is an epically bad move. If they are – see below.

    Fresh Market is very convenient for our family’s shopping and, consequently, over the years, we’ve spent a large portion of my family’s grocery bill there.

    No more.

    If they had any marketing sense they would have spun this to their advantage and made money on the fact they had an osprey repeatedly nesting on their property. Think about what Stew Leonard Jr. would have done with this scenario. Even the utility co. went to the enormous trouble of responsibly moving the nest in one piece so as not to interrupt the nesting process. I’m guessing here, but the utility co. probably footed the bill for the platform cost, too, let alone the time & labor. Did they know the platform was coming down?

    Maybe, if a replacement platform goes up right away the pair will re-build. Often, nests need re-building anyway after winter damage.

  9. How can we help this is a wildlife disaster for all of us who
    Help with local wildlife
    Please let us known
    Peter Swift
    111Harvest Commons

  10. Ospreys are protected by the US Migratory Bird Treaty Act and it is illegal to remove an active nest. This nest was definitely active as the ospreys were living in it! Whoever removed the nest and platform just broke federal law. We need to find out who did this terrible act and demand that the nesting platform be replaced or rebuilt if it’s already been destroyed, and the nest returned if they still have it. This is really cruel.

  11. Julie Loparo

    DEEP has been notified via their emergency number. The landlord is Regency Centers (203 635 5560). This is a travesty. Thank you Lindsay and Nick (Earth Animal) for being on top of the situation, and thank you Dan for posting this story. This needs to be remedied soon.

  12. Leslie Riback

    I just spoke to the manager at Terrain. She says that a gentleman from the Audobon Society came and removed the nest this morning as they are trying to prevent the birds from nesting there as there is construction that is going to start in the area. I have no way of verifying if this is indeed the case but at least we know it was not removed by the landlord or maintenance crew hired by the store. If someone has a connection with the Audobon Society, maybe they can research? I will try calling myself.

    • I wonder if he showed them any ID demonstrating that he was from Audubon? Sounds very suspicious to me. Especially since Audubon would presumably know these birds’ nests are protected!

      • Fiona Bughton

        I was ordered by the Regency Centers management foreman at the scene to leave the area after his several attempts to stop me from gaining any further information from the gentleman from All Points Technology. An officer from DEEP came to Terrain & I shared my entire story with him. He assured us that he would get to the root of this. Terrain management kept this as a priority throughout the day & into this evening. & is active in doing everything possible to see that the Osprey are protected & that the nest is replaced as soon as possible. It has been a most heartbreaking day for all of us at Terrain.

    • Fiona Boughton

      I am one of two Terrain employees who ran to the scene to demand an explanation from the team of 3 men involved. Two of the men work for Regency Centers https://www.regencycenters.com/office/WPT/New-YorkConnecticut-Office & the other stated that he was employed by All Points Technology http://allpointstech.com and was there to investigate whether the nest was active or not. He told me that because there were no eggs in the nest, he deemed it as inactive BUT we, at Terrain, have been seeing nesting activity over the past week where osprey are in the process of adding sticks to the nest & also sleeping in the nest. I was told by the Regency Centers that I was in the way & to leave the scene. I immediately reported this to the management team of Terrain who acted on reporting it immediately to the DEEP Wildlife Division -860-424-3011

  13. Thanks Dan for posting this story. How awful and cruel, AGAIN making me wonder what in the world is wrong with people. Please keep us updated!

  14. Sandra F. Aldrich

    There is an unused osprey stand on the west side of the Saugatuck river near Taylor salt marsh and the Rt 57 bridge on Kings highway north. Point them in the right direction!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  15. Leslie Riback

    I asked manager Sarah if they asked him for ID and if she knew for certain he was from the Audobon Society. She says she did not know to either question.

  16. René Fontaine


  17. Just awful! Please keep us posted with hopefully good news 😢

  18. Outrageous! Who did this? Let’s get a platform back now!

  19. Before this descends into vigilantism, somebody should get to the bottom of what actually happened here. It seems to me unlikely that either Terrain or Fresh Market would be responsible, since both stores know their customers love the birds and the managers would want to avoid exactly the kind of backlash they’re starting to get. The story about the Audobon Society sounds credible, even though I don’t know what kind of nearby construction they could be worried about. This should, however, be easy enough to verify.

  20. What can we do we must get the nest back .

  21. I just heard from Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society, And they had nothing to do with the removal of the nest. The landlords should not have removed the nest and platform!

  22. K.F. Spearen

    This is Just So Wrong .. I actually took a few pics of the nest yesterday afternoon , while shopping at the Fresh Market … Please let me know if I can help in anyway .. I’m calling the Fresh Market to inform them that they’ve lost all of my business , unless the Nest is reinstalled ..

  23. K.F. Spearen

    3/30/19 .. 430 PM … I just got off the phone from speaking with one of the Fresh Markets Store Managers .. They Did Not Remove the Nest , and are also upset about the situation .. I was informed that that area isn’t part of the Fresh Markets property .. Its owned by the Terrain store , who is performing lots of construction in their parking lot .. Including installing some kind of large Barn type Shed

  24. Debbie Zager

    This was done illegally – I went to walk around to see if Nest had been moved and found Betsy, a Wildlife Rehab person who had called in the DEP. The DEP is investigating – we looked everywhere and cannot find the platform. The Osprey’s are stressed and she is very concerned that this will be completely deleterious to the pair. Nobody had permission to move the nest and she said it was the worst time of year to even consider doing so. Calls to landlord went unanswered. Is there any video footage of the people who moved it on someone’s security camera? This is illegal – birds are protected by Federal Government. Contact Christine Peyreigne : christinescrittersinc@gmail.com a Wildlife Rehabilitator with info or to Report if you see an Osprey so distressed and tired that they are in the ground.

  25. Michelle Benner

    when I was driving down post road yesterday I saw an osprey fly right infront overhead carrying a stick, heading straight for this nest. I hope we find out who took it down and how we can put it back up. It’s essential to these birds’ survival.

    • After numerous phone calls from people concerned for the osprey, I went down to check out what was going on. I spoke to Audubon in Fairfield who made calls and confirmed that it was NOT Audubon who removed the nest this morning. They received a phone call yesterday asking their opinion on removing it and they firmly stated that it should NOT be touched or removed. The DEEP is investigating.

      I met with the officer at the site and relayed all information that I could to him. Searching the entire area for the platform and the nest was not successful. This is in the right hands with the DEEP and I hope that we can get a good resolution soon for this situation. We rehab birds of prey, so if anyone sees either of the osprey grounded for any reason please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you all for your concern about these magnificent birds ❤️ Christine’s Critters in Weston. https://www.christinescritters.org.

  26. Marci Caporizzo

    Perhaps the Terrain business can erect a pole next to the fence on their property and allow the ospreys to continue to nest. These birds have travelled all the way from Columbia to their nesting site to be met with such a challenge is unforgivable. I shall not shop at Fresh Market any more and I will be calling them to express my sadness and dissatisfaction with their actions. Perhaps more people should notify the Market in a like manner. Westporters have always respected individuality and nature….it is a shame that this landlord was not more tolerant.

  27. Hi, Dan. Managers at Terrain claim that the nest was removed by the Audubon Society with the approval of CT DEP. This surprised us, and I have reached out to Audubon and DEP to try to confirm this. It would be a violation of Federal law to destroy a working osprey nest, and this sounds like a working nest. I would say this is a story worth looking into. WASA has been very helpful in getting the word out on this. Regards, Pete Reid, Wildlife in Crisis, Weston.

    • I was there searching for where the nest may have been moved or dumped and met up with a Wildlife rehab person who had called in the DEP to investigate – as she said this is the worst possible time of year to relocate a nest and that it is illegal to do so without approval of DEP … so, don’t think it was done legally… Someone from Fresh Market said they were told the workers were moving the nest due to upcoming construction … who told them to move it and who is doing the construction involved – nobody knew … The Audubon Society and the DEP had nothing to do with taking it down. She said the Osprey’s are totally stressed out from this horrible crime.

    • There is a already a poster above stating they reached out to the Audubon and it was not them or done with their blessing. It also seems like someone contacted the DEP and is investigating but unknown if that means they are investigating if someone within their organization approved / was involved or if they are investigating that a crime has been committed. It does seem like the absolute worst time for someone to interfere.

      • Alissa Harrison

        I can confirm the CT Audubon Society’s Director of conservation was contacted just yesterday by the construction company involved and the official recommendation was to leave the platform as the osprey pair that nests there are habituated to all of the human activity and would not be negatively effected by the construction. The Audubon immediately contacted the DEEP biologist incharge of monitoring osprey. An Audubon employee was not in any way involved in the removal this morning, it was done solely by the construction company going against the official recommendation of the CT Audubon. I’m happy to hear DEEP is investigating the matter further and hopefully the platform can be put back in place ASAP. It is my understanding that a nest can be removed as long as there are no eggs but that certainly doesn’t mean it should be especially in this situation. Thank you Betsy for your continued work to get to the bottom of this!

  28. Leslie Riback

    I just called Terrain again and spoke to manager Maureen. She told me that the police dept and DEP are now involved. She admits that they were misinforming the public by telling them it was removed by the Audobon Society. She says the men who came and took it down told them they were “biologists”. Our phone call was cut short as she said the DEP was calling on the other line.
    I guess this is now in the hands of the DEP. Can this get rectified quickly enough? I wish there was more I could do….

    • Does Terrain know the name of the landlord because the cherry picker construction device in the back parking lot of Fresh Market (and where Terrain is busting through building) has the keys still in it and it is the machine used to remove the nest. Someone told a worker at Fresh Market that they were relocating the nest for safety due to the upcoming construction … Ridiculous! Does Terrain have Security Cameras or Fresh Market ? If so- perhaps they can identify who did this early this morning?

  29. Ruth Donohue

    The fact that not only did Audubon not remove the nest, bit specifically told the caller not to makes this even more egregious. Whoever perpetrated this needs to be made to restore it immediately. I’m ready to stand outside and picket the guilty party. The fact that Terrain mentioned Audubon makes me suspect them. Need to get to the bottom of this and take action.

    • I agree as the construction worker told someone at afresh Market they were relocating the Nest for “safety” due to construction

  30. Cristina Negrin

    Sounds to me like Terrain lied and still is and the fault is at their door

  31. Sam Levenson

    I was alerted to the removal of the nest by the staff at Westport Hardware shortly after it occurred. When I left the hardware store, I could see the pair circling. I drove over to the Terrain parking lot and shot video of the pair circling and trying to rebuild their nest where the platform used to reside.

    I have provided the video to Dan Woog and am happy to share with DEP or other persons involved in rectifying this situation.

    Sam Levenson

  32. Leslie Riback

    I will join you on the picket line.

  33. Joshua Stein

    I just drove by. There is one osprey sitting on top of the telephone pol and a bunch of dropped branches at the base of the pole. Very sad. The second Osprey was not in sight. There is a green lift in the back of the parking lot. Can someone that witnessed please give a better description of the crane that was used? Was it the green one presently parked in the back parking lot. Its baffling that no one stopped them or called the police/DEP as it was happening. Someone couldve parked their vehicle prohibiting the crane from moving and let the police/DEP sort it out. See something, say something! As its happening, not after the fact! I do think that if the platform is re-installed ASAP the issue may be resolved.

  34. Ospreys are a protected species ..Audoban society of CT works with companies to place & move nests but NOT REMOVE them.. .call them asap! Shame on the landlord! They are also missing out on possible $$ business … idiots

    • The Osprey’s are stressed out!
      The nice woman I met there (a Wildlife Rehab person, Betsy) said they will keep going to get nest materials and drop it as platform is missing- and get overworked – SO SAD!!

  35. Jalna Jaeger

    Eversource took the pole down, and it is not clear that they will put up another one! I contacted someone from Ct Audubon who moniters osprey nests in the state. I guess Eversource needs to hear from us!
    Jalna Jaeger

    • Sorry but can you please explain? The pole is still there..

      • Julie Loparo

        But the platform needed for osprey nest building has been removed – along with the ACTIVE nest.

        • Marci Caporizzo

          I just posted the Migratory bird act and it is illegal to tamper, move or otherwise disturb the nest even if it is inconvenient, messy, etc. A permit is required to do so.

  36. Ruth Donohue

    Let’s urge Terrain to replace this platform immediately. I’ve already called and emailed them. If it’s them (seems highly likely) and they don’t resolve by tomorrow, let’s protest at the location. Their email is service@shopterrsin.com. Westport phone 203-226-2750.

  37. Joyce Barnhart

    Does DEP stand for Department of Environmental Protectiom? What does DEEP stand for?

    • Ruth Donohue

      Several years ago DEP combined w the Energy dept to become DEEP, Dept of Energy and Environmental Protection.

    • Richard Hyman

      Dept Energy and Environmental Protection

      If we wait for DEEP it will be days.

      Can we find an authority of platform design, now. Get westport FIre Dept to lift a qualified person up tomorrow to rebuild. Get it done ASAP tomorrow. The birds can then rebuild! Do we have an action plan?

  38. Fiona Boughton

    Terrain was the first on the scene, within minutes of this occurrence. All information on the persons involved in this was handed over by Terrain to the CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, who responded and now have a wildlife biologist involved in order to protect the welfare of these birds immediately.

    • Ruth Donohue

      Fiona Boughton is a Terrain employee FYI

      • Bill Boyd Staples 66

        Figure out the details…put up a new platform asap… fine the HELL out of the offending parties….then boycott….there is NO excuse or tolerance for this….and register our outrage with the landlord (phone number above in comments).

    • Fiona Boughton

      It was reported by Terrain to the EPA https://www.epa.gov

  39. This is awful! Who are these people??? Very distressing to do this.

  40. Fiona Boughton

    I AM THE TERRAIN EMPLOYEE WHO TRIED TO INTERVENE. Terrain was the first on the scene, within minutes of this occurrence. All information on the persons involved in this was handed over by Terrain to the CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, who responded and now have a wildlife biologist involved in order to protect the welfare of these birds immediately.

  41. This is Lauren Aber, I’m the store manager at terrain. We are as upset as everyone about the removal of the Osprey nest. Although the nest does not sit on our property, the birds are very important to us and we look forward to their return every year. We have contacted the EPA, who sent on officer out to the store. They are conducting an investigation and I will update this post with their findings.

  42. Karen McIver

    TWIMC: Please relocate Osprey’s nest ASAP.

  43. Michael Calise

    Lets face it most commercial properties in our town are no longer owned by our neighbors. Some jerk in Miami or Chicago or Wherever pulled the plug on this nest. When your game plan is to kick out local business to improve your bottom line in order to roll the property over to another REIT throwing out a few birds is duck soup.

    • Peter Barlow

      I think that’s very likely. Still the guys in the truck must have been somewhat local. Has anyone reported a company name on the truck?

  44. Fiona Boughton

    Please read my comments above.

  45. Barbara Sherburne, '67

    I’m just wondering why another platform was not built today. I hope it gets done on Sunday. Very distressing story and heartbreaking.

  46. It is very heartening to witness the folks of Westport stand up for these beautiful birds. Once we find out who is responsible they should be grilled on all of our local web sites. Hell has no fury like Westport’s wrath.

  47. Maureen Fleming

    What is wrong in with us? Are Westporters so money hungry for bigger and better everything that we need to even destroy the habitat of a wonderful species of federally protected Osprey to be removed?
    Oh my goodness, our poor world is so upside down now we are even destroying the home of our returning Ospreys.
    Wow! Vacation in a warmer climate and when you return to your home you might find it idestroyed. That is what happened. What can we do? I’m in!

  48. Marci Caporizzo

    Many people do not know that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal to disturb the nest any native bird without a permit (see exceptions).

    It is also illegal to collect or have in your possession live or dead non-game native birds (adults or young), bird feathers, nests or eggs, to try to incubate wild bird eggs, to keep nests or eggs even for “show and tell” educational purposes, or to have road-killed birds in your possession without a permit. (Note: Injured native birds should be brought immediately to a licensed, trained wildlife rehabilitator who handles songbirds. More info)

    It is illegal to remove or move active nests, even if:

    they are in an inconvenient location
    the babies create piles of poop underneath the nest (like Barn Swallows)
    they build an unsightly nest and drop pigeon and rat remains on the sidewalk in front of an upscale Fifth Avenue housing coop in NYC, ala the Pale Male Red-tailed Hawk.)
    It is illegal to transport, trap or kill native non-game adult birds like Blue Jays or Mockingbirds without a permit, even if they are harassing birds at nestboxes or feeders.

    Despite the title, the Act protects birds that are not considered “migratory” (like Mourning Doves and Chickadees).

    Permits are seldom granted to individuals, even for research. A state permit may be required in addition to a federal permit – contact your State game warden/wildlife management agency for more information.

  49. Trish Leavitt

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. Any construction being done at the site should be halted while this is investigated. I hope a new platform can be installed ASAP for the health and well being of these ospreys.

  50. How can this happened when these beautiful Ospreys just returned this past week. If they had intentions on removing their home, why wasn’t in done earlier before they returned to their home for the past years? How sad…
    I hope others and authorities can get this replace in the same area ASAP.

  51. Leslie Riback

    I went on Regency Shopping Center website https://www.regencycenters.com/office/WPT/New-YorkConnecticut-Office and contacted the property manager for CT. Her name is Liz Miskelly. The telephone # she called me back from is 713.319.4296. After my “conversation” with her, I would be shocked if this matter is not attended to in an expedient fashion. I would like to request that all of you post on social media, make phone calls and spread the word regarding Regency Shopping Centers and what they have done.
    I also called the Westport Police Department. They said they are not investigating this and have turned everything over to the DEEP.
    If we are to truly make a difference, no matter how small, we all need to take action.

  52. Phillip Perri

    Just FYI, Regency also owns Compo Acres Shopping Center (Trader Joe’s). Ii is a great idea for everyone that is upset over this to contact Regency direct and lodge a complaint (contact info above). Please do not take any action against the tenants of the centers however. If it was indeed the landlord who did this the tenants are just innocent parties that are valued members of our community and should not be targeted to hurt their businesses. Whether or not you hurt their business they still have to pay their rent and extra charges to the landlord. Commercial leases typically DO NOT allow a tenant to hold back rent for any reason. It is difficult enough to keep retailers operating in Westport for a myriad of reasons, let’s not make it worse. Please direct your outrage directly with the guilty party as I intend to do.

  53. Tracy Bloom

    Any news on progress protecting these birds?