Osprey Odyssey: Regency Responds

Jack deVilliers — Regency Centers vice president — just responded on 06880+ to the controversy raging after yesterday’s osprey nest removal. Regency owns the Fresh Market shopping center where the event took place. He writes:

To our neighbors,

As many of you are aware there was a removal of a nesting platform at The Village Center that served as a breeding ground and home for two ospreys. Before any work was done on this we consulted a variety of environmental and wildlife sources to find the best way to avoid having our upcoming construction disturb a nesting environment. We were informed that if the nest was not present before the breeding season then the ospreys would be able to make a new nest somewhere else. There never was any removal of existing eggs or birds at any point.

For those who might be unaware, the upcoming construction work is intended to redo the facade, upgrade the parking, a substantial tree installation, sustainable LED lighting, and a rain garden. However, although our intentions were to mitigate any disturbance to our avian neighbors, we may have missed the mark with seeing the whole picture.

Thanks in part to the community feedback that we have received, we have decided to reinstall the platform as soon as possible. Not only that, but we will modify our construction schedule for the breeding season, and will be providing a buffer area that cannot be disturbed until we can determine the fledglings have safely vacated the area. At which point, we will resume our efforts without any negative effect to the ospreys.

It is extremely important to us that we are good and responsible neighbors, and that includes our feathered friends as well as our human ones. We can’t thank everyone enough for their concern and interest on the topic, and a special thank you to those who reached out to us.

Jack deVilliers – Vice President at Regency Centers
203-635-5562

Osprey on a pole, this afternoon. (Photo/Richard Hyman)

77 responses to “Osprey Odyssey: Regency Responds

  1. Nathalie Fonteyne

    Thank you Dan! Thanks to 06680 and all the commenters to this issue for applying pressure. Without it I doubt this situation would have been resolved so quickly. Hopefully the plateform can be reattached by tomorrow first thing.

    • Peter Saverine

      “We may have missed the mark” comes so close to a legitimate apology. Thank you for listening to to public concern and for a hopefully timely and considerate resolution with the replacement of the platform and sensitivity to the construction schedule. I drove by today and witnessed the sad bird atop the foundation of its missing home.
      Wouldn’t it be nice if our society could get back to using two politically correct words when wrong is done. “I’m sorry” goes a long way in healing these times. Too bad we always seem to defer to the legal nonadmission of fault instead if just apologizing outright. You came close Jack, but just missed the mark. Perhaps you can rehearse pthose words for the next statement. Thanks.

  2. Seems convenient that a random miss labeled truck removed the nest, and your excuses although realistic feel co- ursed, just saying I don’t think your a good neighbor and neither do the birds.

  3. India Penney

    I literally have tears in my eyes. Thank God!!!

  4. I am beyond happy and relieved. Thank you you stepping up to the plate and doing the correct think.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Chris Damianos

    Hi Dan. You deserve the Pulitzer Prize for your outstanding coverage!

  6. Susan P Saracena

    Jack,
    Wise response in light of the fact your firm will be looking for P& Z approvals this coming Thursday night at Town Hall. But, I would suggest if you were ‘good and responsible’, you would not have removed the nest to begin with. It seems Regency’s actions speak much louder than words. Will see you Thursday evening.

  7. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    They failed to consult anyone, and brazenly broke a federal law. They’re full of baloney and need to rectify it, today. They need to pay a stiff penalty the same as anyone else would.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      Yes Jean Marie….the penalty under the Migratory Bird Act is $15,000 for a minor offense….I would say this was major and a STIFF FINE should be levied on this landlord….one cannot cry uninformed and then expect the community to turn their heads…I am a lifetime Audubon member and the Audubon society would have never permitted this….the Osprey HAVE BEEN AFFECTED…if you know anything about birds and Ospreys in particular….they have to travel all the way from Columbia and across a stretch of ocean that is hundreds of miles without stopping then traverse Cuba and once again the ocean before reaching the US and for our Westport Ospreys continue the length of the eastern seaboard only to be met with THIS CHALLENGE….unforgivable Jack….totally unforgivable….no excuses. Now the Female especially has had to endure this stress on her body prior to egg laying which could very well affect their successful breeding this year….a tragedy for sure….we need every offspring we can get as these raptors are close to being endangered. On top of the fine Jack should have to do community service with one of our environmental groups….perhaps the Audubon Society.

      • Agreed – In the words of the esteemed Justin Bieber (God Help me!) It’s too late to say “Sorry!”.

    • Marci Caporizzo

      WOW….Jack….

      You must have been dreaming that you contacted the authorities….but not to fret….they WILL be contacting you. Shame…shame. Many others have said it all and I must concur with them in my feelings. I would like to add the following though…..

      You need to read the Migratory Bird Act of 1918. I quote…..

      Most birds are protected by federal laws under the “Migratory Bird Act of 1918″, as well as by state laws. It is illegal to destroy, relocate or possess birds, their nests or their eggs. The only exceptions are non-native species: house sparrows, European starlings, and pigeons.” The fine for a minor offense is $15,000….It is illegal to remove or move active nests, even if:

      – they are in an ‘inconvenient location’
      – they create piles of poop
      – 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.

      Being a lifetime member of the Audubon Society I know that they would not have given authorization to tamper with the established nest while the birds were preparing for a new season of breeding. These magnificent Raptors have already endured one of the longest migratory flights… having returned from Columbia…crossing hundreds of miles of open seas to Cuba, then traversing the length of Cuba and more open seas to the United States…next to travel up the East Coast to Westport only to be met by your ignorance of the law and the complete destruction of their nest. You could have ‘googled’ the legality of tampering with a nest prior to even contacting your so-called authorities (rather unlikely you contacted anyone). No environmental group who knows the law would have advised you to touch that nest prior to the Ospreys arrival or otherwise. Now these birds are to face another assault which is additional STRESS on the female prior to laying eggs. This could well affect their being successful with offspring this year and we need all these birds we can get….in many states they are endangered!

      Pleading your case falls on deaf ears in these parts….Westporters are very protective of their community and that carries over onto wildlife issues and now you have found Ospreys as well. I’m not sure how your tenants feel just now because they were getting the blame and bad publicity with many folks threatening not to shop at their businesses in the future until this was settled justly and fairly. I don’t imagine that you took that into consideration. I hope that you make your apologies and restitution to Terrain and Fresh Market as well and perhaps some sort of kindness extended to them for what they have dealt with because of your actions.

      This nest needs to be up by the end of business tomorrow….these Ospreys have fought quite a battle and it is very unfair to let them struggle a moment longer.

      We all here in Westport are so very grateful to Dan Woog for providing us with a PLATFORM for discussion and resolution. NOW DO YOUR JOB AND PUT BACK THE PLATFORM FOR THE OSPREYS….POST HASTE!

      Like many others….I fear that this weeks P&Z meeting is going to bring the masses out….just deserves Jack. We just went through the process for a shed on our property and it was MONTHS before getting approval….I can’t help but wonder how you perceived the process you would face with P&Z….taking this nest down now was VERY PREMATURE! I would venture to guess that you won’t be starting your project for months to come. All of this could have be prevented and the Ospreys could have enjoyed another breeding season ‘UNTOUCHED’! Beautification of your property and complete destruction of the Ospreys….not what one would consider a good days work.

    • Dana Kuyper

      Agree.

  8. YAY!! Demanding Westporters winning the day

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  9. Richard Hyman

    Dear Jack,

    Good to hear that you “decided to reinstall the platform as soon as possible”. I’ll look for it to be completed by tomorrow mid-afternoon! No April Fools Jack.

    If Regency doesn’t know how to design and build a proper platform, and/or can’t find materials or labor, I am just off the phone with a representative of CT Audubon and they are at the ready. They are very skilled, experienced and upset as well, and they can and will rebuild the platform, immediately! Would you like them to contact you? (Design is important.)

    Your note to us is curious as you say “We were informed that if the nest was not present before the breeding season then the ospreys would be able to make a new nest somewhere else. There never was any removal of existing eggs or birds at any point.” Jack, are you not aware that a nest WAS present!

    By the way, today I was standing near the location with a local resident who could not sleep last night because she was so upset. She said she had already seen the pair mating. CT Audubon confirmed that the Osprey would have already mated. Jack, “The Clock is Ticking” in more ways than one!

    Jack, I note your web site’s statement of Environmental Stewardship. Interesting.

    Richard

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMKwyhSWNR1XJCMryI5PLEQ?feature=em-share_video_user

    • Joshua Stein

      The original platform AND nest was found in the dumpster so I dont think anything needs to be rebuilt unless it has been damaged/destroyed.

  10. Diane Silfen

    Thank you Dan. Now let’s see if Jack is a man of his word.

  11. Sounds like they didn’t expect the degree of heat (sorry for the pun) that they received. Had it not been for Dan and the “denizens” of this blog, I seriously doubt that anyone at that company would have cared for the ospreys at all.

  12. Ruth Donohue

    Today. Putting the platform back today would be good. If they have already mated these birds need to settle back in now, not when your team gets around to it. See you Thursday.

  13. Susan Iseman

    I just drove by there (Sun 3:45PM) and the osprey was already bulling a nest on the utility platform. Yikes! These Regency folks have been unresponsive about how dangerous the Trader Joes parking lot is…I hope they are going to follow through for these majestic birds.

  14. Regency’s statement is perhaps made to imply “All’s well that ends well…” they go so far as to say they will even do one better by protecting the area until after the fledglings have flown away (before commencing to move the nest again). Regency is totally ignoring the Federal Law which protects these birds and their nests and it is not up to Regency (or the Connecticut State Law they vaguely refer to as an excuse for their “oops”.
    This is total BS. They knew what they were doing and they did what they wanted to do without seeking any information or permission from the correct sources. I am glad they plan to right the wrong that they caused but they shouldn’t expect a gold medal for fixing something they knew well enough not to touch . They also shouldn’t expect to get a P&Z Variance this Thursday and I hope that everyone in Westport who cares about these birds will show up at the Town Hall Meeting and make certain that Regency doesn’t benefit from their shady actions. This is not some small company with no resources – they are a National Firm and they KNEW BETTER. They flagrantly ignored the Federal Law and are blatantly stating they plan to do so again (after babies leave the nest) ! They are completely in the wrong and in denial as to what the law on this matter is. If they truly spoke to “wildlife or environmental experts” before doing what they did – they should name names as we should all be entitled to know who these experts are. Regency should want to produce those experts as they flagrantly broke a law, theoretically on the basis of what those experts told them about the nesting habits of the Osprey. Regency is wrong about no birds being displaced – the breeding pair were fully ensconced in their nest and obviously flushed out by the men in the cherry picker – so, technically I am certain the birds didn’t sit in the nest while it was being removed – but they were there before it was. Shame on Regency !!!

  15. Jo Ann Koebbe

    Here is a quote from the DEEP’s website pertaining to active Osprey during mating season. This is a Federal offense! Regency could be looking a nice hefty fine and the wrath of Westport Osprey lovers. These birds can not wait another minute. Put the platform back!

    During the nesting season, people or their pets should maintain a distance of at least 500 feet from an osprey nest. Disturbance of ospreys is prohibited under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-92.

  16. Jack deVilliers’ comments are disingenuous, at the least. The nest WAS already there, as anyone could have seen. And we observed the birds mating last Tuesday when we were across the street. Osprey pairs return to the same nest every year, adding to it each year. I cannot believe any wildlife expert told them the ospreys ‘would be able to make a nest somewhere else’. It’s significant he has not named these sources who were allegedly consulted.

    • Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

      He didn’t name sources he spoke with b/c he most likely didn’t. He figured he could get away with breaking a federal law. I still don’t understand why it’s not being rectified today.

      Again, thank you Dan and thank you to those who took photos.

  17. Celeste Champagne

    Dan, I give the credit for this outcome to you (and thus your active readers) for pursuing this. Kudos once again to you for your active participation.

  18. Dan, a million thanks for pursuing this.

  19. My utility company source writes: If you could suggest a few things to Mr deVilliers…prior to just jumping out there first thing tomorrow – knee-jerk reacting in haste like his crews did yesterday morning – I suggest he call NOW to Eversource(800-286-2000), telling them to request a trouble truck mid-morning, to both de-engergize the service to the pole, as well as showing the lineman what his crews will do and estimating the time to finish for the electric company trouble truck to return later tomorrow afternoon and re-energize the service; plus contact Town of Westport, to have them go out and observe (maybe Conservation Director Alicia Mozian, 203-341-1170)
    Plus contact the DEEP to inform them the original platform the DEEP approved five or six years ago, mistakenly removed by these fine people yesterday, is being reinstalled.

    This way no one will feel that another mistake is being made…by this same company!

  20. Leslie Riback

    Let’s hope it goes up today….
    Thank you Dan.

  21. Bad, bad man

  22. Bad, bad man !

  23. Cristina Negrin

    Do it NOW!

  24. What a crock.

  25. Does regency and this VP corporate money man …really think the Westport community is that stupid. Let’s play out the convo that regency supposedly had with experts.

    It was probably just a water cooler moment —- hey what do we do about that bird nest ?? Other Regency money Gruber … “move it “. Ohh ok.

    They just want to massage the residents so they can have a good P and Z meeting Thursday— you can just hear them. No we really didn’t mean to move or rather destroy a federally protected birds home. While we just take this yo yo’s home and then say ohhh sorry. Didn’t mean it.

    Ridiculous. Good luck Thursday Regenct

    You will need it. Westport Unite
    #protectnature

  26. Rindy Higgins

    What a saga. I’m so proud to be a part of the Osprey Stewards of CT, to be listening to the many Westporters who care, and so glad to have Dan Woog in our court so diligently reporting and giving us a platform to be a community. Thank you, Dan, and to all of you who have showed concern. I got hold of Alicia Mozian, director of the Conservation Dep’t and she responded to my email, so she knows about this. Though glad Regency responded in a positive way, let’s make sure Regency doesn’t think they are in the clear just because of this recent announcement. Here’s an earlier video of the birds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=BDSd5hz10DM

  27. Diana Shayon

    First – Thank you, Dan

    This response from them would not have happened but for you.

    Second, a note to Jack below

    Jack

    Your response is appreciated, but let’s get a few things straight.

    First, the nest was there for a very long time. The birds return every year about this time and their return is cause for many of us who are tired of winter, to celebrate. The birds were readying their nest and it was clear your unmarked contractor was there to eliminate the nest before the hearing at P&Z this coming week.

    Your response – obviously engendered by the furious reaction by many of us is disingenuous. Your website speaks of corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship and that includes your supply chain. Your site also speaks of your investor positioning as ‘anchoring’ your investments in upscale communities with grocery stores appropriate to those markets. You should know that one of the characteristics of both ‘upscale’ and those which are not, today – is expertise in social media. People find out about things and can quickly make life difficult for those companies – particularly those who profess to be responsible and are not. It is also not hard to determine the reporting chain. You can be assured that there are many of us who will make sure your leadership team in Florida (assuming your website is up to date) Hap Stein, your CEO and the rest of your leadership team knows just how mad one of your ‘upscale’ communities, is at them.

    Hopefully, for you, your action to restore the platform is not too late for the birds.

    And I do hope you will have the courage to show up at the P&Z meeting on Thursday. There will be a lot of us there for whom, simply trying to apologize because you got caught, is not enough. There needs to be consequences for this kind of unthinking and unethical behavior. You represent a large national company whose leadership should know better.

    Sincerely, Diana Shayon (one of the angry Westporters who did not sleep last night)

  28. Catherine Breitfeller

    That’s wonderful. Thank you & the Ospreys do too

  29. Jalna Jaeger

    This sounds very fishy from start to finish!
    I especially love the fact that the workers said they were from Audubon!
    As a member of Audubon i am appalled! They deserve a BIG fine!

    • Bob Penderson

      As a member you should be appalled that Milan Bull is still there. He has caused great controversy in Fairfield by allegedly lying and making up facts.

  30. Richard Webb

    DO THIS TOMORROW!

  31. Julie Fatherley

    Hooray for all of you immediate responders to this outrageous environmental
    infraction of the most important ingredient in our lives…our environment.
    Soft words do not make it with me but glad about the outcome. This should
    not have happened in the first place…money always speaks over matters of
    integrity…sadly, this is a lesson but one we will need to address again and again as our community is continually invaded by greed . Julie Fatherley

  32. Julie Fatherley

    I was saddened today as I saw the Osprey on the pole IN THE RAIN. The soft words sent to us to pacify our anger about their negligence of Nature
    and those dear birds is apprehensible. Money always wins and I am sad that
    the osprey had to pay the price. This should never have happened in the first place. My thanks to all those in the community who have made their sentiments known….I stood in the rain this morning and cried as I saw that
    dear bird totally confused. Hope a platform will be built ASAP to let them
    know we invite them to share in our community. Julie Fatherley

  33. Bill Boyd Staples 66

    Imagine the stress on the breeding pair who now have to recreate from nothing a large nest that was there a week ago. …..those nests are very large and are used for MANY years. I just hope they can do it in time without over stressing themselves.
    Great job Dan for your EXCELLENT coverage..and all who supported this. But it still remains to be seen if this is a success….I’m hoping.

  34. Dan — your coverage of this crisis was wonderful, and the results prove it.

    I think you ought to write a book about it, or at least a magazine article.

  35. Alec Andrews

    He needs to name the sources he spoke with regarding the nest that said it could be removed (I call bs that he spoke with anyone). We know Audobon told them no and the DEEP would have said the same thing because it is a federal felony to remove the nest. And let’s not forget half the town knew the nest was there for years and being used. I hope we all realize this is a fake apology just to get the heat off before a p&z meeting.

  36. Mary Kneisel

    Dan….I join all those who thank you for all you do for Westport and especially for dedicating this Sunday to the Ospreys who share the parking lot at Fresh Market. I’m not particularly impressed with the response from Regency since they were “caught missing the mark”, but hopefully will be able to move on if they do what needs to be done tomorrow,
    even though it should have been taken care of today. It is at times like this when I realize why I’ve loved and lived in Westport for over 40 years. Most people really are kind and do care.

  37. What a scum bag.

    This isn’t caring about the community or genuine responsibility. Although the correction of the illegal action will be welcomed, this is the simple obfuscation of someone caught red-handed and hoping to avoid questions about illegal activity.

    Of course, too often we see property developers brazenly pull this shit, because they believe that their pockets are deeper than the neighbors who are impacted. (Remember when the local developer bought an artistically notable house and removed the roof before getting a demolition permit because, hey, if there is damage from the weather the building surely requires demolition?)

    I hope that Westport’s P&Z appropriately considers the pattern of behavior during Thursday’s meeting.

  38. This is what happens when local owners sell to publicly traded real estate investment companies. The company is in business of delivering a satisfactory return to its investors. The nest was probably a nusance that got in the way of their operating plan. Westport residents, get use to this behavior from corporate owners of formerly owned local businesses. It is all about the money – Mr. deVilliers is hired to maximize his employer’s investment value and smooth over any public relation issues. This event is wrong on so many fronts but in the end Westport has sold its soul.

  39. Robert Mitchell

    Dan, You are correct that “it takes a village.” But there has to be a mechanism to enable the village to work together and make its position known, and you provide that mechanism with 06880. Bravo!
    Never could have happened without you.
    (And let’s hope everyone knows that 06880 subsists through donations. See the link on the right hand side.)

  40. Whatever the realities behind Regency’s response, the bottom line is the platform will be quickly rebuilt, I’m sure — I doubt they will drag their feet given the response on Dan’s page and calls to Regency’s offices and other wildlife agencies. As my husband said when I updated him, ‘power to the people!’ Great work Dan getting the story out there and keeping everyone updated!

  41. Dan is the local newspaper publisher of old (and new) – he did what Benjamin Franklin did when he founded the first newspaper in Philadelphia – inform all peoples of the forces that wanted to inflict change – good and not so good. Yes, Dan provides the mechanism with 06880 to inform the citizens of Westport of the good and evil that is happening in our community. Beyond donations – which Dan needs to continue his information platform – what are Westport citizens willing to do – to stand up, question and stop the development of our town beyond what we as citizens want to see for our future? Many have said that enough is enough – IS IT?

  42. The proof is does it happen or it this more B S from a company a bad local record

    Kind Regards

    Peter Swift

  43. If it wasn’t for this blog, we would have learned about this as a lament, way after it was too late to do much about it, as stale news at best. Woog’s blog rallies the neighbourhood so they can rattle the cages that need to get rattled. Thank you Mr Woog for your vigilance & love of all things Westport.

    • Thanks, Mark. We all do what we can. I’m grateful for the ability to do this, and honored that so many rallied to the cause.

  44. Luann Watson

    Better get it up sooner than later. You’re doing the right thing if you get it up in time for the osprey to settle back in. Thank you.

  45. Luann Watson

    Better get it up sooner than later. You’re doing the right thing if you get it up in time for the osprey to settle back in. Thank you.

  46. Werner Liepolt

    Post on Regency’s FB page if you are so inclined. https://www.facebook.com/RegencyCenters/

  47. Lisa O'Brien

    Birds of prey have “nest fidelity”, meaning they come back to the same nest year after year. Just like you expect your vacation home to be there when you return, birds of prey do the same thing. Imagine coming home after work and oops, it was bulldozed while you were out. You’re in their neighborhood. It’s not the other way around.

  48. Thank you Dan for the amazing pulse you have on this community and for igniting the out cry for action demanding that Regency correct the harm they have done to our winged residents. The company must account for their disgraceful behavior and pathetic apology and make amends. Making a large contribution to The Nature Conservancy or The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in honor of these birds would be the least they can do.

  49. Vivienne Dixon

    Thanks Jack, so by 8:30am tomorrow morning we can expect it back to normal?? It’s the least we can do for the birds right??

  50. Barbara Sherburne, '67

    Thank you, Dan, for all you have done on this story. It has been terribly distressing to me, a person who does not live in Westport, and all I want to hear on Monday, very early in the morning, is that the platform has been restored and that the Ospreys are still there, I hope to God, to build another nest and raise their offspring. This never should have happened.

  51. Dan, So incredibly happy for you and your 06880 Community, if the osprey are willing to come back it looks like they will be in even better position than they were before this ‘incident’!

    Also a big standing ovation to the staff at Terrain who immediately stood up for these birds, (That doesn’t often happen when you’re part of a large corporation).

    My favorite part, when I knew you had hit a home run for these birds:

    ‘Thanks in part to the community feedback that we have received, we have decided to reinstall the platform as soon as possible. Not only that, but we will modify our construction schedule for the breeding season, and will be providing a buffer area that cannot be disturbed until we can determine the fledglings have safely vacated the area. At which point, we will resume our efforts without any negative effect to the ospreys.”

  52. Mr. DeVilliers,
    Though the important thing is that you are restoring the nest after thoughtlessly removing it, I challenge the statements you made about how you consulted environmental folks and they told you to remove the nest…that never happened because NO one who is “environmentally” schooled could have told you to remove an Osprey nest AT ANY TIME since, as you can see from the bird’s desperate attempts to feather the top of the pole, Osprey are not on your schedule.

  53. Richard Webb

    Dan it is up! They put it up overnight which is impressive… Then again they might have wanted to avoid a daylight lynching. At any rate the power of your words was proven more than ever. Pulitzer, baby!

  54. Richard Fogel

    organize a protest outside the store. Dont shop there.

  55. Craig Steinke

    Fantastic update and thank you for demonstrating a caringness for these magnificent Ospreys. Being urgent and in action to get the nest replaced now is the real barameter of how genuine you are as a person. You gave the order to remove it, please put it back today.

  56. Candace Banks

    Finally- a happy ending. Proud of my vigilant Westport neighbors- thank you.

  57. Michael Pettee

    One of the greatest understatements:
    “…although our intentions were to mitigate any disturbance to our avian neighbors, we may have missed the mark with seeing the whole picture”

    Um, may have? Really?