HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s breeding season for ospreys in our area, but one pair of the federally protected birds picked an odd spot to make their nest
They needed a little guidance from experts, who carefully orchestrated a move, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.
It was a precarious location for a starter nest. A pair of young ospreys chose a ramp to the Huntington Lighthouse, which will soon open for the season for tours.
But you can’t dismantle an osprey nest. The iconic hawks are protected.
“We were just totally blown away at their choice of address. For some reason they didn’t want the penthouse. They wanted the basement, so it didn’t really make sense,” said Pam Setchell of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society.
So the lighthouse team called in the Department of Environmental Conservation to oversee a rapid nest relocation.
“It had to be close so that the parents would follow the nest and we kind of don’t have a lot of real estate out here, so the question becomes where?” Setchell said.
Marine contractor Frank Scobbo drilled a steel pole and 4-foot square platform into the lighthouse’s granite rock.
“Understanding the severity, we dropped everything to make it happen. They are not only protected, but they are vital to the ecosystem and you have a very limited time to actually relocate the nest,” Scobbo said.
A new home was constructed in one day.
“We were thrilled because that afternoon the mother and father were in the nest,” Setchell said.
Because of protections, more and more ospreys are being seen on our shores, after near extinction in the 1960s. But it is still a federal and state crime to disturb a nest.
If you see one in a perilous location, report it to the DEC.
“The sooner we can address a nest that’s not in a great location, such as a chimney … the easier it is for us to try to work through those relocation problems,” said Chip Hamilton, DEC senior wildlife biologist.
Mama and papa osprey now protect their one egg.
“No one has lived out here since 1949, so they might be the new resident lightkeepers. But we are happy to have them,” Setchell said.
Osprey pairs return year after year.
The Huntington Lighthouse was built in 1912 and hosts an annual music festival on Labor Day weekend.