We got an email a couple of weeks ago from a resident in Post Falls concerned about a pair of suddenly homeless and increasingly desperate osprey. As the all-purpose conservation organization in North Idaho, and friend to animals big and small, could we help?
We set out on twitter (and the telephone), and according to an Avista representative, it seems this particular migrating osprey pair had come into their homelessness through some unfortunate housing choices. The pair had originally settled, like many osprey in our area, on a long-abandoned piling in the Spokane River. However, almost all of the river pilings were removed this past year.
Forced to find a new home near the water, the pair of osprey chose the top of an Avista power pole along Spokane Street. Here’s what our correspondent said about the sad scene:
Last Thursday, unfortunately, the pole caught fire because of the nest filling with water then arcing across the wires. The top of the pole broke off sending the nest to the ground. Luckily, the pair had just returned so there were no eggs in the nest. The pair also survived. Avista fixed the pole but has not placed a new platform on the pole. The osprey pair are still here. She sits on the pole and he circles above.
Avista confirmed to us that the pole had a nest box, but the osprey’s poor housekeeping habits turned the nest into a fire hazard – causing a fire on the pole. Twice. In fact, the second fire caused a brief power outage for much of Post Falls. This sort of osprey-related pole fire is not unheard of, but nevertheless, Avista decided that this particular pair could no longer nest on this particular pole.
Still, the nice people at Avista, who do this sort of thing all the time, were perfectly agreeable to replacing the nest on a nearby tree, but they had difficulty gaining approval from a troublesome landowner. Avista also thought another tree, on property owned by the Post Falls Highway District might work, but it had similar access problems.
Well, today we’re pleased that our correspondent has confirmed that a brand new nest is in the Highway District’s tree, and the osprey have taken up residence already:
Avista was out on Friday and put a platform on the tree that sits in the Post Falls Highway District’s jurisdiction. I’m not sure how they accessed it but it’s done and our osprey have already made their home there. They had been flying around for the last 4 weeks very unhappy about not having a nest in the same area as the previous one. I don’t know if it is too late now for them to lay eggs and raise chicks but at least they will have a place to return to next year.
So thanks to Avista and our sharp-eyed correspondent, all is well.