Thursday, May 20, 2010

Birds on a Pole

The Nest

Former Home

When I read Merci33's blog about the wildlife in her yard, I thought of our local ospreys and their housing situation.

Here is what I had learned at Tuesday's Council meeting--this year the ospreys chose the local ball field over their normal spot in the lake by the railroad trestle. It's a problem because: The pole is too old to be climbed (how do they change bulbs?); the light pole they chose cannot be turned off individually; having the nest relocated by the appropriate movers is too expensive (the town, like the country, is in debt); and there is concern that the osprey will drop sticks on people below. Do they really drop sticks on passersby? Will the eggs bake? If the chicks hatch, how long till they fly? Should ballgames be moved to a different field? Why did they bypass their usual nesting spot? Lots of questions.

I know some of you are bird watchers and may have suggestions. They probably should be left alone as we hope for the best. What happens next year?

I did get back to painting today but I took the camera with me when I dropped off my aluminum cans--recycling center is at the ball park. Two birds in one short15-minute trip; my timing was perfect.


  1. Wonderful shots. Birds are amazing- just amazing. I don't have any suggestions- but I'll stay tuned to hear.
    There is a bird sanctuary in the ridge just above our house- and we are privy to many remarkable sounds and species. I'm always in awe. Unfortunately, with so many cats as pets- we don't foster friendships with the birds. Our yard isn't bird friendly.
    The water in your community is spectacular.

  2. I've witnessed osprey nests when I lived on the Chesapeake Bay for decades and also at my home in coastal Maine. They return to the same nest every year, so it looks like either they must move or the ball-players! They are beautiful birds but have a very shrill screech.

  3. Oh my. We have ospreys that choose unusual nesting spots but this one looks particularly interesting. Animal instinct being what it is I would guess that it will be OK...those nests are very thickly laid with sticks so it is most likely elevated up above the heat of the lights enough...and, well, would the heat of the lights ignite the sticks at some point??? That's a YIKES concept.

    I don't think anyone has to worry about sticks falling...but I did once stumble over a large fish that an osprey dropped into my yard from way high overhead ;-)

    The best we can do it leave them alone...if disaster strikes their nesting experience atop the pole...they'll move back out to the old neighborhood next year...we probably all learn best through our own mistakes.


  4. Hi Pam. Birds are amazing; I'll let you know what happens.

    Kathy, I was at that ballpark last weekend--the Walk for a Cure was held there. I never thought to look up. Now I'll probably be driving around looking up at light poles. I haven't hear an osprey screech but I was surprised at the sound herons make.

    Hi Donna. I suspect something was done to discourage their nesting on the towers in the lake; I failed to look when I was out in the boat. Maybe they'll pick a tall pine next year.

  5. ---I love these photos of your Osprey. Here in Oregon the people love their wild birds! The news outfits have "hawk-cams" on the bridges and such. I agree with Merci33--the birds should be left to do what they do...and we'll all hope for the best! It is always so thrilling to see an Osprey--they are magnificent!

    looking forward to seeing your painting-!!

  6. Celeste--I was just looking at your cropped painting--great; I saw the tiger earlier.

    I suggested to Town Council that the osprey situation could put our town on the map; I also mentioned a webcam. The town spends a lot of money we don't have on promoting "tourism;" this is free. They think I'm a bit on the arty-nutty side. (Now I believe we should just let the birds be.) I'll make frequent recycling trips.

  7. Great shots, Hallie... I'm in agreement that the birds should be left to their own devices. I wonder how many times the lights will be on before they decide they don't like the heating in their new apartment and move on?


  8. We had an osprey make a nest at a ballfield in my brother's area (Central Florida), and they were no problem at all. I am a birder (when there is time, which there never is) and here is my suggestion - leave them alone and enjoy! They are fabulous!

  9. Hi Don. I think there are eggs so it'll be a while before they can move on. We have several ballfields and they're always in use.

    Dan--Yes, they are fabulous and we will enjoy. I'm a birdwatcher at the kitchen window and sometimes from the dock--kingfishers and herons. I watched a woodpecker yesterday; he was pecking on the metal cover of the street light--loud.

  10. Ditto to all the comments to leave the nest alone. However, has there been a consultation with the local park district or dept. of natural resources?
    Love the pics, love the osprey!

  11. Hi Indigomar. Our Chief of Police, who reported on this at the meeting, spoke with Dept. of ????. He has a very low voice.

    I really like your fog photos.

  12. Wow, the top picture is amazing, Hallie. I agree with all who say leave them alone. San Jose, CA, has a falcon family on our new city hall (well, several years now). They are a huge hit with the locals, and through a partnership with a falcon organization, you can watch their daily lives on Webcam. Clara and Estaban hatched four eggs this year and two have fledged successfully. They are now nailing their landings high up on City Hall. You can read all about them here:

    If these endangered birds can make a life in a city of million people, your Osprey should get a shot at making a life on top of the ballfield.

    By the way, your tribute to your mom was very touching and the art is phenomenal.

  13. Hi Mary. Welcome back; I liked your drawing from the hotel window in NY. I followed stories of falcons in Baltimore and in an expensive hi-rise in Central Park. The birds are interesting. I'll check out the site you mentioned.

    Thanks for the compliment on the Mother's Day entry. Did you take a rain bonnet on vacation?

  14. saw your answer to my dilemma about the "shift" on Ad Broad's blog so came over to thank you, saw this and wondered where you are exactly? Reason being, we lived in Richmond, Va for 8 yrs and kept a summer home on Gwynn Island and this reminds me of the island. It's a beautiful little farming island on the Chesapeake and I was enchanted by the osprey.

  15. Hi California Girl. Buggs Island (or Kerr Lake as it is called in NC) is a 50,000 acre lake. We're 90 miles west of Richmond; 70 miles north of Raleigh--tobacco and farm country. This was my vacation home for a while; now we're permanent.

    Checked your blog--you're too young to remember the chemise and the sack--introduced in 1957.