Tag Archives: Brian Hess

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.