Osprey Nest: Sunday Morning Report

In the wake of yesterday’s removal of the osprey nest between Terrain and Fresh Market, several readers wondered if there was a photo of the actual act.

Staples High School freshman Jaden Mueller took this shot. His parents, Adrian Merri, sent it to “06880.” They said it had no business name on the side.

(Photo/Jaden Mueller)

Meanwhile, “06880” reader (and Connecticut Audubon Society board member) Charlie Stebbins directed me to Miley Bull, Connecticut Audubon Society’s senior director of science and conservation.

I called Miley this morning. He said that on Friday afternoon, the contractor for property owner Terrain — he’s not sure of the contractor’s name — called. He said they’d be taking down the nest the next day, as part of a parking lot project. The contractor said they wanted to remove the nest before the ospreys laid eggs, because then it would be an “active” nest. If the ospreys abandoned the nest then, the contractor might be liable under Connecticut law, the contractor knew.

Miley told the contractor that the adults were already back. He told me, “I have no control over private property.” But he called Brian Hess, wildlife biologist for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Miley said he told Brian, “I’m not sure of the best thing to do. I told the contractor that there’s a lot of activity there already. The birds might be habituated to noise, and not affected by construction.” He told me there are ospreys living on poles near stadiums, with all that activity.

Miley said, “Brian called the contractor. I don’t know what he told them.”

Ospreys in 2016. (Photo/Jo Ann Davidson)

However, Miley said, “When the workers were there yesterday, and people got all upset, the workers ducked and hid. They said ‘the Audubon Society said it was okay.’ That’s bullshit. I don’t have control over that.”

I told Miley that — according to several “06880” readers — the ospreys are apparently covered not only by state statute, but the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. And that the law refers not just to nests with eggs or chicks in it, but to any “active” nest. With birds living in it, readers say, this was an active nest.

Miley said of the state DEEP, “They know the statutes and laws.”

That’s the latest information.

Reader Charlie Stebbins also noted last night:

The key issue now is, where do the osprey alight and build a new nest? Before Terrain, they built on a 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. 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.

23 responses to “Osprey Nest: Sunday Morning Report

  1. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    Thanks, Dan for tracking this down as thoroughly as you have. And for obtaining the photo of the destruction of the osprey nest! It was an obviously active nest. DEEP needs to fine someone for violation of the known law. The best we can hope for, is that the ospreys find a new nearby nesting spot – soon.

  2. It would seem appropriate for the owners of Terrain to finance
    The construction and installation of a new platform.

    • Fiona Boughton

      It is not on Terrain property. Terrain has always owned the majority of its property, other than the smaller back area which was only just recently leased through Regency. It was a total shock to see the dismantling of the nest. There was no warning, as others have reported. Terrain acted within minutes of witnessing the destruction of the nest to several state wildlife/environmental agencies in order to have this crisis reversed immediately. There is something to be said for the peace of the Terrain nursery for these birds to return yearly. While the nest is also under the watchful eyes of the CT Audubon Society, the employees of Terrain have also kept an eye on things, & would be quick to alert the Audubon Society should there be a concern. Kudos to Jaden Mueller for his photo documentation & immediately alerting Charlie Stebbins & Brian Hess. Also thank you to Tina Green & other bird experts were also part of the process to track any relocation of the Osprey. What a relief that the Osprey are as trusting of humans & they have proven to be. Our work is done, leaving them at peace is all they need of us now.

  3. Just passed the exit to fresh market the ospreys are building on the utility pole right at the light to exit fresh market — basically the address is the post road —. Probably not so great. We’re these movers looking. For eggs to poach and sell. Extremely illegal and nefarious. They need to be held accountable and made an example of — this is a life threatening event -/. So now as people look up from the post road. A traffic situation could easily occur.

    Awful — someone needs to identify this truck and throw the book of federal laws at these workers. No matter who asked them.

  4. Amy Schneider

    Thanks Dan for keeping us up-to-date! I hope they find a new home.

  5. Rindy Higgins

    I’ve been keeping Osprey Stewards of CT informed, reposting Dan’s blog each time on their site. So thank you Dan for doing this. It is certainly raising awareness of the issue and of these great birds and bringing our community together. I am also reaching out to Westport’s Conservation Department.

  6. When I shopped at Fresh Market yesterday the osprey was sitting atop the pole yesterday sans platform….

  7. Ruth Donohue

    Should we protest in front of Terrain for the restoration of the nest and platform? It’s already been established that a nest on the utility pole closer to the road may not be safe for chicks due to the power lines.

  8. Thank you Dan for keeping us informed.
    Since the activity was illegal, there will be an investigation … whomever is responsible should ‘just step up’ and work with necessary authorities to rectify ASAP.

  9. India Penney

    OK, wait a sec …
    Am I misunderstanding something? In your last article, you said that the Audubon Society gave the contractor an emphatic no. Now, in this article, it seems like all Audubon said was “the adults were already back” … and then called DEEP saying “I’m not sure of the best thing to do.” That isn’t an emphatic no in my book. And if the contractor didn’t get an emphatic no, but, rather, indecision …

    That aside … I am distressed at the idea of the osprey flying around trying to find their nest. Do we know if, in fact, another platform is being erected for them? Or is it too late because they’re already atop the utility pole without a platform? (Is there enough room for them to build there?!)

    • You’re not misunderstanding anything. Lots of people are saying lots of different things. The facts seem a bit elusive here.

  10. Scoot MacPherson

    Terrain is an Urban Outfitters company. They are very sensitive to any negative social media comments. Seems like blasting them on all those sites — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc — would yield a requisite crisis management response from corporate resulting in action from the Terrain store management.

    • But is this pole on Terrain’s property or Fresh Market? I dont think we have had confirmation either way. However I do think the crane used is behind Fresh Market and operations appear to have been conducted from the Fresh Market parking lot. Where is the construction going to be happening that has been cited multiple times?

  11. The nest has been located… it is in a dumpster behind Colonial Pharmacy… it was deposited there by Regency…. the landlord/owner.

  12. Diana Shayon

    As one who has watched this pair since they first made their nest in the Fresh Market lot, and welcomed them each year this is a travesty. Regency Centers management needs to know how angry so many of us are – they are at 28 Church Lane and that regional offices site is easily found on line. Both Fresh Market and Terrain local management would like them back and we need to find ways to keep the attention on the solution. The birds are distressed and trying to rebuild on the transformer platform- which won’t be good.

    They are part of Westport and should be treated that way.

  13. The pole is still there – the platform and the nest are not. This morning I saw the two Osprey attempting to sit upon the first pole (that has spikes on it – the” electric pole” from which the nest was moved a few years back. The wildlife rehab person on site yesterday said that even putting a platform close to where it was (up high and perhaps at back of the parking lot) would inspire the Osprey to build nest there… Terrain has plenty of building materials and the cherry picker that was used to remove the nest is there with the keys in it… perhaps they could get a platform up… TODAY…?

  14. Marci Caporizzo

    Someone is not telling the truth!!! I spoke with Rebecca at Terrain 3 times and they vehemently deny that they took the nest down. It would seem to me if they were on the landlords property for Fresh Market they would have been trespassing unless both properties are owned by the same entity. Can anyone ascertain the ownership of both properties? Terrain states that there was proposed construction to be started on Fresh Market property and that it was not at their request. They claim that they are saddened and upset as is everyone that this travesty has occurred. Who to believe…. that needs to be sorted out so that the Westporters can do what they do best and require ownership of the act and then be held to penalties and restitution. I for one will never shop at either place until there is a resolution. Thanks Dan for giving us a ‘PLATFORM’ for discussion and change. Now let’s hope and pray that we can get a PLATFORM for the Ospreys back POST HASTE!!! Westporters band together and this is not the end of this by a long shot.

    • Thanks, Marci. The bad guy right now appears to be not Terrain or Fresh Market, but Regency — the owner of the Fresh Market shopping plaza.

  15. Hi Dan, yes, you are right, Regency appears to be the hidden hand in this. The good news is that the CT DEP environmental conservation police have opened an investigation. The bad news is that investigations take time, and it would be ideal to have that platform back up tomorrow. It was a CL&P platform mounted on a CL&P pole (now Eversource) and we are not sure Regency should have tampered with it without permission. We are trying to contact someone in the Eversource chain of command to get the platform back up. I would encourage citizens to contact their state legislators to bring awareness of this incident to Eversource and the highest levels of the DEP. Also, an industrious citizen activist might consider rescuing the nest materials from that dumpster. If we can get the platform replaced, having those materials at hand might save the ospreys weeks of work. Regards, Pete Reid, Wildlife in Crisis, Weston.

  16. India Penney

    Eric Davidson … 904-598-7829

    They say that “community is their passion”. So show them that the community is furious and demand they put up a new platform immediately.

  17. I loved seeing the Ospreys up there as much as anybody and I hope their return can be facilitated. However, people seem to be getting into a hanging mood over this, and from what Dan has reported, it doesn’t sound as though either Terrain or Fresh Market is the culprit. Their businesses should not be made to suffer over something they can’t control.