Expecting Osprey Parents Return

Success! The osprey pair enjoy their new deluxe accommodations, provided by Seattle City Light. Photo courtesy of Sound Transit’s Keith Sherry.

 

In February, Seattle City Light and Sound Transit teamed up to build an osprey tower with a nesting platform, in partnership with Osprey Solutions, LLC. The platform is on the southern edge of the Sound Transit Operation and Maintenance Facility near Spokane Street.

The nesting platform was an effort to prevent the birds from building their nest on power lines, which poses a danger to the birds and can cause outages for customers. The birds had been nesting for six years on a local cell phone tower, but an exclusion device had been installed to keep them from nesting there and disrupting service. Since the birds would likely come back and potentially nest on energized poles, Sound Transit and City Light worked together to install a safer and more attractive nesting site. The osprey tower is located on the corner of property owned by Alco Investments, which gave City Light easement to install the tower.

City Light is happy to report that the birds have moved in and are successfully nesting. The beautiful birds are expecting young and are thriving in their new nesting location near the Duwamish River.

“It looks like they are taking to the nest as hoped.  If they continue their nesting attempt, there should be nestlings in a couple of months,” said City Light Wildlife Biologist Ron Tressler, who oversaw the project.

This is just the latest effort by City Light to coexist with the birds so the utility doesn’t cause problems for them, and the birds don’t cause problems for the power supply.

City Light has put up nest deterrents and removed nests from dangerous locations over the years. When the birds start nesting on electrical equipment, it can be bad for customers and worse for the birds – especially if the nest gets wet from rain. An electrical short can ensue, causing power outages and killing the birds. City Light, Sound Transit and Osprey Solutions continue to work together to prevent these situations from occurring.

Retired Metro employee Pamela Paul got site approval for the new nesting platform and helped to make the project happen. She even collected and donated the nest sticks that were placed on the platform for the birds. Paul’s commitment to protecting the osprey is admired by City Light and the utility extends its thanks to her for her efforts.

Osprey photos courtesy of Pamela Paul.

Do you have new shots of the osprey? Please share them with us in the comments below.

Ospreys return to Seattle for spring

The osprey nest in Commodore Park.

 

If you build it; they will come.

Ospreys have returned to two different manufactured nest sites near Seattle parks.

Three years ago, Seattle Parks and Recreation Facilities Maintenance crews, Natural Resource Unit crews and staff, Planning & Development staff, Parks Surveyors, Seattle City Light staff, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, Burlington Northern staff and a  U.S. Coast Guard employee worked on getting a replacement nest site for ospreys at Commodore Park in Magnolia.

The old nest had been dismantled because it was located on a telegraph tower on rail lines above the park. The tower was in disrepair and was in jeopardy of falling into the Ballard Locks below it. Staff worked together on siting the new nest, getting permits, fabricating a nest platform and installing a 70-foot pole and platform.  Two ospreys showed up at the platform the month after it was built, and two babies were born that year. A pair returned last spring from their wintering grounds in Central America and had one offspring. This year, another pair has been spotted adding nest material to the platform.

An osprey spotted near its nest by Magnuson Park.

 

Across the city, there have been reports of three different adult ospreys returning to a nesting site near Magnuson Park. Two years ago, ospreys made their home in the crow’s nest of a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration ship. A power company constructed a new pole and platform for the birds on land to lure them away from the boat. The first year the birds did not produce any offspring in the nest, but last year, two adult birds returned and produced at least two young.

Many volunteers have been monitoring the nest to see if these birds will produce offspring this year. Since the birds are not banded, it isn’t clear if the same birds are returning each spring. The nest can be seen from Kite Hill in Magnuson Park or from the parking lot of Building 27.