Missing osprey nest a mystery

I live out in Sams Valley and often drive along Table Rock Road. I love to watch a pair of ospreys that inhabit the large nest on a pole about TouVelle State Park on the Rogue River when the birds are here between March and September. Usually, after the birds fly south for the winter, their nest is left in place for them to use when they return next spring. But this year, the entire nests — every stick — disappeared a couple weeks ago or more. I'm wondering whether you can find out what happened to the nest.

— Allen H., Central Point

Well, Allen, we at the Since You Asked Aviary Assocation did what we do best — ask — all over the place this week to find out what happened to that nest.

We couldn't. But we found out that several osprey pairs that went south recently will be returning next spring to find their nests gone.

Ospreys are federally protected, yet utilities like Pacific Power have permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the non-nesting season to remove any nests deemed dangerous, such as a fire hazard, or threatening electrical service to customers.

These nests typically are built by ospreys on platforms above the wires and transformers so the birds don't cause a fire and burn in the process.

Pacific Power spokeswoman Jan Mitchell couldn't find any references to an osprey nest being removed near TouVelle. But she did say the utility removed 15 nests on power poles in the Lost Creek Lake and Crowfoot road areas because of concern about service reliability.

"We've had issues in that area in the past," Mitchell says.

Mitchell says nests in that area are removed "routinely" after the ospreys leave, so the birds have to rebuild their aerie annually.

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