PUNTA GORDA — The osprey had lived among a cul-de-sac near Bayshore Court and Marion Avenue for at least three years.
Jim Blue, a Punta Gorda resident, observed the osprey building nests on and off in his neighborhood. “They found a home in a power pole,” Blue said, “but when their nest was blown down, they started looking someplace else.”
The osprey then started living in one of the neighbor’s chimneys.
“It wasn’t working out too well for the neighbor or the osprey,” Blue said, with the neighbor installing spikes and reflective CDs to deter the bird.
On Tuesday, Florida Power & Light provided a solution and installed an artificial nest platform on a power pole.
At first, the osprey didn’t take to the new nest, according to Blue. The bird kept perching on the chimney, surrounded by the spikes.
But then, with the help of Mylar balloons, the bird moved to the artificial nest.
“They are effective,” said Melody Kilborn, a spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson. “These artificial platforms can assist in keeping the ospreys from getting electrocuted and keeps the nests from damaging the transformers. It also reduces disturbances or a need to remove the nest if work has to be conducted around the poles.”
Ospreys are known for building large stick nests at the tops of tall trees, but also have adapted to “readily utilize” man-made nest sites, according to the FWC.
“When osprey nest on power equipment, sticks and part of their nest can drop into power equipment,” said FPL spokesperson Nina Frick. “These nesting platforms help improve service reliability while enhancing the opportunity for the osprey to nest in the area in a safe way.”
FPL has installed over 500 nesting platforms for birds in Florida since 2008, Frick said, with 65 of those being in Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
Now two ospreys hang out above the pole, above their human neighbors. And, with incubation occurring in the summer months, more may be on the way.
“It’s heartening that all the effort and expense has paid off and we can continue to share our beautiful neighborhood with these magnificent birds,” Blue said.
Meanwhile, a fake, intimidating owl sits where their old nest on the chimney used to be.
“A little encouragement to move to a better home,” Blue said.