There is a new nest on the DNR Property. It was moved from a power pole that was on landfill property on Wednesday. This is quite a story of cooperation between DTE Energy, DNR, local Boy Scouts, and OWSEM in a project organized by Jason Cousino. The birds had blown two fuses already on the power pole, which serves the landfill and runs their pumps. Those birds needed to be moved to a new location, but the landfill did not want a platform on their property. So, in stepped the DNR to donate a spot on their land. The birds had been using a perfect flyway from the power pole through DNR property to fish. Even though it was a quarter of a mile to where the platform could be installed in the center of their flight path, once the nest was moved, the Ospreys checked it out and moved right in. Talk about intelligent birds!!! They followed their nest and its contents. DTE donated their trucks, crews, materials, and lots of time to get this done. The platform itself was built by an Eagle Scout. Channels 2 and 4 documented and aired the first half of the project, but then both were called off to cover another story. Fred Drotar, the local photographer, took dozens of pictures, too. It was truly amazing to watch these birds, who were likely traumatized from the removal of their nest, as they found it now atop the platform.
Here is the link to the story which aired on Wednesday on Channel 2.
Before the move started, this video was used to select the site for the new platform. Then, Wednesday morning, the relocation project began with DTE installing the platform on Pointe Mouillee property, about 1300 feet from the original nest site atop the power pole. The new platform’s installation will be centered in the flyway that the birds use for fishing and gathering nesting material.
The below sequence, taken by Barb Jensen (on her cell phone!) shows how the move was done:
The DTE crew used a plywood board to slip under the nest to keep it intact while the worried Ospreys circled overhead
Before the nest is moved, a DTE crew in a second bucket truck gently and carefully removes the eggs.
The DTE crew wrapped each egg separately and placed them into a Tupperware bowl surrounded by towels inside a soft sided case. Barb keeps the eggs warm and with her until they are returned to the nest.
The crew removes the nest intact (with a small hole in the center where it laid across the pole) and lowers it to the ground in the bucket, where they place it in the bed of the DNR truck, As Zach transfers the nest to its new location, both bucket crews zoom back to the platform to prepare for placing the nest on its new site, whilst Barb follows closely with the eggs in their secure packaging.
This is a cool picture of the inside of an Osprey nest, showing the soft grasses and leaves on the inside. Ospreys continue to add material throughout the nesting season, keeping it in fine repair.
Both bucket truck crews move the nest onto the platform and secure it to the inside of the nest box. The hole in the center of the nest is filled with sticks and lined with some of the soft grasses already inside the nest. This will support the eggs, which are placed in the center of the nest bowl.
Barb Jensen said, “As this transfer was being completed, an amazing scene was unfolding around us. Both adults had followed the flyway to the platform and were investigating it and its contents. Such a wonderful demonstration of avian intelligence! They flew around and over the platform and, at one point, it appeared that they would land. Seeing this behavior, the crews quickly lowered their buckets, and we all boogied out of there to leave the birds alone to reconnect with their nest.”
The crews returned to the power pole to place the deterrents on top. The birds circled once more overhead.
From start to finish, the project took just two and a half hours. Per Barb Jensen, the project was well organized and completed efficiently. Later, Jason Cousino checked the platform and relayed via email the good news, “The birds are on the nest!” Kudos to Jason, who organized this project, on its success!!
Chuck Pulling (right) and Mike (sorry do not have last name), both from the DNR, installed a predator guard on the nest’s pole a few days later.
Congratulations to all involved on a job well done! The project could not have been a success without the cooperation and caring of many groups: DTE who donated their time, material, and crews; the Eagle Scout who constructed the platform; the DNR who provided the new nest location; and OWSEM (Barb Jensen).
The frosting on the cake will come if the eggs hatch, and if this pair raise strong, healthy chicks, which survive to fledge. If all goes well, possibly one of them will be selected to wear the new satellite transmitter this summer.