Osprey Nest: The Latest Update

This afternoon’s “0688o” story on the removal of the osprey nest between Fresh Market and Terrain struck a nerve. We’ve already received over 50 comments. They range from distressed and sad to furious and vindictive.

While there are no clear answers yet as to who removed the nest, it is clear that:

  • The Audubon Society yesterday received a call asking about removing the nest. They emphatically said no, for many reasons.
  • This morning, someone claiming to be from the Audubon Society told Terrain they were removing the nest because of upcoming construction — and then did so. Terrain apparently was duped.
  • Fresh Market had nothing to do with the removal either. Store personnel are very upset about what happened.
  • The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is involved. So are the Westport police.

The comments on the previous story are compelling reading. Click here to see them all. Listed below are some highlights, including emails sent directly to me:

Tina Green: 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!

Christine Cummings: I am an assistant manager at The Fresh Market and I want to assure you, we had nothing to do with the removal of the Osprey nest. We are as distressed. We have called the landlord and are trying to get an answer.

One osprey flying over the removed nest this morning. (Photo from video by Sam Levenson)

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 Ospre’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.

Carolyn Doan: I was so upset reading about the Osprey that I called the Audubon Society and this is their exact response:

“Thank you for reaching out to ct Audubon. We did not remove the nest. And would not have recommended to do so. Please call Brian Hess at DEEP (860) 424-3208 Brian.hess@ct.gov to report the removal. Thx.”

Pete Reid: 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.

The nest, 4 days ago. (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Betsy Peyreigne: 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

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….

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 in charge 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!

Former Eversource employee: Pole is Eversource property…they only allow their own crews or contractors they hire, to install or remove anything on their poles…this is clearly a violation of their rules which all municipalities support and take action against any violators – suggest getting Town of Westport involved. This violates NatIonal Electric Safety Code – thus coming under municipal jurisdiction for enforcement!

Debra Zager: 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?

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 EPA https://www.epa.gov

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.

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.

43 responses to “Osprey Nest: The Latest Update

  1. Rindy Higgins

    I find this so distressing. As an CT osprey steward for years, I’ve posted this on the appropriate fb page to get some feedback. Hopefully the osprey have found the platform at Taylortown. Gee,,

    • Heather Williams

      Thank you, Rindy. We all hope that they will find the platform over at Aspetuck Land Trust’s Taylortown Preserve. We have been patiently waiting for a pair and have been building up the nesting material and habitat for them for two years now. I’m so sorry this happened to this pair.

  2. Lee Richards

    Please, at least replace the platform so they can build a new nest.

  3. Diana Shayon

    This is beyond awful – the nest MUST be returned

  4. Holy cow, what a complete s*** show. Never mind the Alice’s Restaurant investigation. Get that platform back up now. As in: right now!

  5. Ruth Donohue

    Agree, let’s not wait to sort out the whodunnit part to get this platform back. Westport Public Works has cherry pickers. Can’t we get them to get the platform up first thing tomorrow if not sooner?

  6. Someone mentioned above that the cherry picker construction device in the back parking lot of Fresh Market has the keys still in it. Can the police remove the keys, or put a lock on it before tomorrow morning?

  7. Toni Simonetti

    I hope a new platform is installed immediately. Save these magnificent birds.

  8. Caryl Beatus


  9. JB (capcmxplus@aol.com)

    We just looked in the dumpster behind the plaza. The nest and platform ARE IN THE DUMPSTER!
    We called Westport police to let them know. If anyone reading this knows who else to contact about this please pass the information on

    • Patricia McMahon

      This is so despicable!!!
      Aren’t there any surveillance cameras in both lots possibly facing the next to see how this happened, and who is responsible!

    • I messaged this to Audubon. They’re online via Facebook Messenger right now.

    • Joshua Stein

      I was about to suggest checking the dumpster!

  10. I can confirm that the Connecticut Audubon Society neither removed this nest nor authorized it’s removal and that we contacted Brian Hess at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to make him aware of the situation.

    We recommend that the platform be replaced or a new platform placed nearby as soon as possible.

    Patrick Comins, Executive Director, Connecticut Audubon Society.

    • Ruth Donohue

      Mr. Comins can you reply to the comment below that seems to indicate Miley Bull of your organization thinks this removal was ok? My understanding of the MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act) is that a nest is deemed active when the birds have returned and are working on it, eggs need not be present yet. Based on that it was illegal to remove this nest and platform and no permit was issued to do so.

      • The legality is a complex issue. Regardless this was not handled well and certainly how the removal was handled was not “OK”. Please see my comment below for more detail.

  11. I will build a new one tomorrow if eversource will install it. Materials on me. Nathaniel- Greens Farms Woodworking

    • Rindy Higgins

      @Nathaniel at Greens Farms Woodworking, that’s the most positive, proactive statement we have had so far!

    • Deb Robicheau

      Yes! Thank you Nathaniel!

      • Diana Shayon

        We will be happy to help with any needed materials and my husband is very good with carpentry… and has most every tool possible. Just tell us where and when and we’ll be there

    • If this is a viable solution, I assume it’d need to be at the direction of DEEP. If they are on the case today have them call me at+12032169891

  12. This is horrible please get another up asap

  13. Joshua Stein

    Has anyone looked up the landlord / prop owner / executive management? Perhaps we can call their home and let them know how pressing this is.

  14. Charles Stebbins

    Dan, Charlie Stebbins here. I just got off the phone with Audubon’s Head of Conservation, Miley Bull. He’s anxious to set the record straight on what transpired with the Terrain Osprey nest. He can be reached at 203-610-5097 and is eager to clarify the facts.

    Bottom line, the Post Road property owner is about to embark on a noisy disruptive renovation. In a few weeks when the noise is worst, the owner didn’t want the liability of forcing the birds off a nest with living fledgling chicks (a federal offense for a protected bird)…so he elected to dismantle the nest BEFORE eggs were laid…which is legal and without fine.

    The key issue now is…where do the Osprey alight and build a new nest? Before Terrain, they built on a UI utility pole that caught fire and killed the chicks. Hence the new pole at Terrain.

    With that pole now removed…Audubon is using its nest monitors (aka, Tina Green and other expert Westport birders) to track where the Osprey relocate. And yes, they will pick a new local site in the next week or two. When they do, we will know if it’s safe or not…and act accordingly.

    This could be a fascinating serial for your blog…but more important, a lesson in the amazing resurrection of the beloved Osprey and its resilience despite perpetual habitat loss.

    You should definitely call Miley…he runs our Osprey Nation which monitors over 600 Osprey nests across CT in coordination with DEEP. A wonderful partnership.

    Best Charlie

    • Zachary Randel

      Disturbance of ospreys is prohibited under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-92.

  15. Michael Calise

    I own property at 732 Post Road East (just over the hill from the current location) would be pleased to provide a location for a new nest. More trees and a far better setting.

  16. Bob Penderson

    Is this the same Miley Bull that allegedly lied during Fairfield open space committee proceedings? If so I wouldnt trust him.

  17. Dan, Your blog is a best, without it you’d have a lot of smart, concerned people with no way to coordinate whatever is going to be done for these birds. You definitely get a ‘patron saint of animals’ medal for hosting this dialogue that I hope will turn into ‘rescue’ of these birds ‘nesting season’.

  18. This certainly appears to be an illegal removal of an osprey nest. Would it help to call the EPA? Other agency? The three idiot guys who removed it need to replace it tomorrow, rain or no rain or face jail time and steep fines. As a community put pressure on the construction company. Pit pressure on anyone accepting bids from them. Do not let these scumbags get away with this.

  19. Leslie Riback

    It would have been greatly appreciated if someone would have disseminated the information about nest relocation prior to it happening instead of permitting such distress and upheaval. I guess the upshot is that we have discovered how many people truly care. I believe Mr. Bull owes the community a detailed letter of explanation and an apology.

    • Ruth Donohue

      The nest was not relocated. The nest and platform were taken down and the platform put in the dumpster. I’m concerned that they are trying to spin this to make it seem acceptable. It is not.

      • Someone again is again insinuating that The Connecticut Audubon Society said it was OK to remove the nest. We did not, nor would we even have the authority to do so. The whole question of whether removal is legal before the eggs are laid is a complex one, especially in light of the recent changes to the interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

        Regardless of the legality, which is up to State and Federal officials to interpret, this whole matter was not handled well. If they knew construction was occurring they should have thought about this well before the birds returned and devised a plan to erect a nearby alternative structure that they could have used when they returned.

        The pair is likely seeking out an alternative location right now. Let’s hope it is not atop a utility pole or in another dangerous location.

        The responsible party should put up a nearby alternative structure ASAP to avoid the possibility of a new nest being constructed on an active utility pole.

        Patrick Comins, Executive Director, Connecticut Audubon Society

    • Bob Penderson

      Mr Bull is known for twisting things so I would not believe much of what he is saying. It’s good there is someone else from Audubon chiming in.

  20. Update please

    Kind Regards

    Peter Swift

  21. Sorry to hear that this happened, but glad that so many people are now trying to do the correct thing. Just a reminder to everyone – migratory birds and their nests have been protected under Federal law for more that 100 years. Only people with a USFWS (not EPA) or CTDEEP permit would be allowed to remove a nest such as this. It’s a big deal!

  22. Our son Michael, an Eagle Scout, worked many, many hours with his fellow scouts who’d made the construction of structures which accommodate these nests their service project, a vital step necessary toward their Eagle status. Jack Berry, of happy memory, applauded their efforts and so do we. It’s an inhumane and vile move to disrupt their habitat at this time of year…I’m sure whoever did this knows that, too…

  23. James McDonald

    The ospreys have abandoned the nest that was rebuilt by the inconsiderate and ignorant people that took it down. Sparrows were in it today and I have seen the ospreys in a week or so. This incident should never be forgotten and the company that did it has effectively murdered a family of beautiful ospreys.

    • Wendy Cusick

      I decided to drive on US RT 1 on Monday instead of Green Farms Rd going eastbound to see the ospreys.
      I noticed the nest looked empty and not filled with many sticks and branches.
      I was just figured because I don’t drive that section all the time I just caught the ospreys away from their nest.
      This a shame….