Saturday, May 27, 2017

Indian Lake Osprey Make Home On Utility Pole

Indian Lake ospreyThey’re a bit like the guests who overstay their welcome in your home, leaving their sheets rumpled in the bed, eating your food, and inviting more family members to join them.

Something like this has been happening to National Grid on one of their power poles across Route 28 from the Chain Lakes Road in the hamlet of Indian Lake. Osprey built a nest a year and a half ago in this desirable location near Lake Abanakee. Osprey like to build their “stick nests” on channel markers, dead trees, and poles like the ones National Grid uses for their power lines across New York State.

So last fall National Grid, working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, removed the Lake Abanakee nest. And this spring, the birds returned to the pole and rebuilt.

Turns out, this is nothing new for National Grid. The company has been removing nests and, depending on the circumstances, building wooden platforms or even, in cases where they have property rights, erecting new poles for birds that return season after season. The company even has a newly developed fiber nesting platform that is easier to install because of its light weight.

As the osprey population has returned (after the pesticide DDT was banned), the company has been busy.

“Within the last five years, we’ve noticed a significant population increase,” said Tracy Miller, a scientist for National Grid.

And with that, more nests have popped up on National Grid property.

“In the North Country, we see it quite often,” Miller said, with the heaviest populations in the Ticonderoga and Lake George areas. “We’ve installed quite a few platforms and poles.”

National Grid can remove nests only from September 1 to March 31, Miller said, because it is assumed nests are unoccupied during that period. The timeframe can differ regionally. The company notifies and works closely with DEC for each case.

In the North Country, National Grid is not allowed to remove a nest between April 1 and August 31 unless it is an emergency or the nest has caused an outage. In this case, the company talks with DEC, takes aerial photos of the nest to see if it contains eggs, and occasionally transfers the nest to a different pole.

The purpose, of course, is to protect both the species and the National Grid property, said Stephen Haller, another National Grid scientist for the central New York region. Pieces of the nest can fall and affect power conductors, which can cause outages. Likewise, birds can be killed if they touch the conductor with their wings.

As for the Indian Lake nest, Miller said they will evaluate whether a platform or pole is warranted.

Photo: Indian Lake osprey by Tracy Ormsbee.


Tracy Ormsbee

Tracy Ormsbee is the new publisher of the Adirondack Explorer. When she’s not working – and it’s not black fly season – you can find her outdoors hiking, running, paddle boarding or reading a book on an Adirondack chair somewhere.




12 Responses

  1. Tim-Brunswick says:

    It’s the same deal up in Maine along the coast and I’m guessing inland, as well.

    I enjoy seeing “Raptors” in general, but seems like we’ve gone “too far” with their protection and they are undoubtedly partially responsible for the diminishing cottontail rabbit and ruffed grouse population decline.

    • Rose Anne Weissel says:

      Hi Tim,
      You can’t blame the osprey for lack of rabbits, or grouse. Osprey are fish-eaters. Other raptors, maybe. But I’d blame pesticides, increased traffic and habitat change first. I certainly enjoy seeing raptors, though!

    • Boreas says:

      Tim,

      As Rose said, both Bald Eagles and Osprey are fish specialists. And Peregrine Falcons are strictly bird predators. These are about the only species that have been given any special consideration in the last several decades. And most of those “special” efforts are being removed as their numbers have rebounded.

      That being said, virtually all native and migratory birds have been protected for decades by multi-nation agreements. There is currently no ‘super-abundance’ of raptors that would have any significant negative impacts on the GAME species you mention. Game species populations are managed by hunting, state propagation, and predation. Some states propagate and release game species, others do not. So any game species of concern has many more factors contributing to populations than simple predation.

      Again, as Rose mentioned, habitat loss, coyotes, ticks, disease, and differences in winter like temperature and snow cover probably play much more of a role in the species you mention.

    • AG says:

      Tim – that’s how nature always works when humans aren’t involved. Predators and prey find their natural balance. The forests work along with it.

  2. Terry says:

    I’ve noticed, from the ground, that this nest written about hasn’t been consistently occupied over the last 5 years.
    However, I still believe that NG and DEC should cooperate and extend the pole/platform at this site.

  3. Larry Foy says:

    This is the second spring for that nest. National Grid removed the platform that was there for years. The birds returned building their nest without the platform and among the wires. If they had left the platform alone there would be no danger to the Osprey or the National Grid property. I don’t know who was to blame but it certainly not the ospreys. I am a Indian Lake resident and photograph the Osprey every year.

  4. Boreas says:

    Just curious – power poles are nothing new. Did the pre-DDT Ospreys historically build their nests on power lines just as often?

  5. Charlie S says:

    Boreas says: “virtually all native and migratory birds have been protected for decades by multi-nation agreements.”

    Expect that to change these next four years Boreas what with you know who running the ship!

  6. Charlie S says:

    ” seems like we’ve gone “too far” with their protection and they are undoubtedly partially responsible for the diminishing cottontail rabbit and ruffed grouse population decline.”

    This can only come from a die-hard liberal!

  7. Charlie S says:

    “National Grid removed the platform that was there for years. If they had left the platform alone there would be no danger to the Osprey or the National Grid property.”

    Why would National Grid remove the platform? Because corporations have no soul.

  8. Charlie S says:

    “last fall National Grid, working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, removed the Lake Abanakee nest.”

    Used to be the DEC worked with the corporations and wildlife, sorta like an arbitrator, for the sake of wildlife. Or so it seemed or am missing something here? We’re regressing?

  9. Charlie S says:

    “The company has been removing nests and, depending on the circumstances, building wooden platforms or even, in cases where they have property rights, erecting new poles for birds that return season after season. The company even has a newly developed fiber nesting platform that is easier to install because of its light weight.”

    So maybe they do have a little soul! There’s hope!

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