Experts: Natural Habitats Were Basically Ruined By Hurricane Sandy

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Osprey habitats on Long Island were ripped apart by Hurricane Sandy, and now the birds have taken up residence in the most unusual places.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, a family of ospreys was spotted at the top of a construction crane in Freeport.

“[It’s a] once in a lifetime deal,” said Marge Christy of Freeport. “You’re never going to see that again.”

The ospreys were not invited, but they are welcome guests now, as passersby have been watching the pair and their three baby birds grow since spring.

“The babies make a lot of noise, and the parents go to fish once in a while,” one resident said.

Town of Hempstead construction cranes damaged by Sandy were out of service in a Freeport marina parking lot. Ospreys seek the highest point, so twig by twig, the pair built its nest first on one crane, then settling on another.

Nesting ospreys are federally protected, so town officials said they wouldn’t dream of ruffling feathers.

“We’re not going take the nest down,” said Town of Hempstead Commissioner of Conservation and Waterways Ron Masters. “We are certainly not going to tamper with the nest or the young.”

Ospreys became an endangered species with the use of the pesticide DDT. But since the 1970s, they have made a comeback.

On Long Island, hundreds of wooden poles have been built on to give Osprey families a head start.

“They are monogamous; they stay together like we do,” said Town of Hempstead Park Ranger Robert Eckstein. “They’re parents.”

“Every year, they leave, and the same birds come back to the same nest,” said Park Ranger Susan Numi.

The ospreys will soon fly south, and only then will town officials take down the crane. But they said they will replace it with a pole for the parents to come home to as empty nesters.

The osprey, also known as a seahawk, is the official bird of Nassau County.

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