Power company provides alternate home for nesting ospreys | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Minnesota Power employee installing osprey platform on power pole in Cass County.

Power company provides alternate home for nesting ospreys

Posted: May 1, 2012 - 2:31pm
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Opsrey nest on platform on top of a power pole in Cass County.
Opsrey nest on platform on top of a power pole in Cass County.

A new nesting platform has been installed on a tall pole in Cass County to accommodate nesting ospreys, according the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The platform was installed by Minnesota Power.

“A company who is willing to leave the nest on their structure, or who is willing to provide a new place for the birds to nest is to be commended,” said Carrol Henderson, supervisor, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program.

Ospreys nest on tall structures, such as cell-phone towers or power transmission lines. From time to time, these structures need to be replaced or in other cases, the nests may be causing a fire hazard. When this happens, a state permit to remove the unoccupied osprey nest is issued to the power company. While not required to do so, some power companies put up a new structures – just for the birds.

“Providing an alternate nesting structure is beneficial for the birds, as well as power companies, Henderson said. “A new structure eliminates the need to issue a new permit every year and will provide a more attractive nesting structure. It also provides a much safer platform for the birds to build their nest and raise a new family of young ospreys.”

In a 2004 Nongame wildlife survey, about 60 percent of osprey nests in the state were found to be on artificial structures. Wild ospreys prefer tall, dead trees to nest in but Henderson said, “Dead trees are rarely left standing and if they are, they don’t stand for very long with a 1,000 pound nest on it.”

Bill Fraundorf, an environmental compliance specialist for ALLETE/Minnesota Power said, “There are hundreds of osprey nests on our transmission structures and many of those are on nesting platforms that company personnel have installed. We value working cooperatively with the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the benefit of the osprey while also maintaining electric system reliability.”