When utility officials learned that a pair of ospreys had set up their nest atop a utility pole in the Village of Plandome Manor, causing a blackout, they decided to give the birds a new home.
Crews from PSEG Long Island were dispatched July 4 about the nest, which sparked a fire, knocking out power in surrounding areas for about 1,500 customers, and within 48 hours, the company notified the state Department of Environmental Conservation that it would be moving the nest to a new utility-free platform approximately 30 feet from the existing pole near Leeds Pond at Plandome Road and Water Lane.
PSEG communications specialist Jeremy Walsh said the new pole and nesting platform provide a safe area for the ospreys away from vital electrical infrastructure.
Ospreys often use utility poles and transmission structures for nesting, causing power failures and damaging equipment, Walsh said. Ospreys are also at a high risk for electrocution, as their large wingspan can complete the circuit between closely spaced energized equipment or between an energized wire and a neutral ground wire.
“Long Island’s osprey population is important to the overall ecology of the area,” John O’Connell, PSEG Long Island vice president of transmission and distribution, said in a news release. “We want to help ensure the osprey continue to return to the area, year after year, while at the same time protecting the reliability of the energy grid. This was a great opportunity to do both.”
Long Island is home to more than 400 species of birds, including the osprey. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Long Island’s osprey population decreased and became endangered. However, the effort to build safe nesting sites on or near waterways has contributed to a rise in the osprey population, and the local bird is no longer endangered.
“The Village of Plandome Manor is pleased to partner with PSEG Long Island in supporting their efforts to install an osprey relocation platform near Leeds Pond. This platform is meant to encourage nesting away from their power lines,” Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno said.
“By working collaboratively with PSEG Long Island, we are minimizing electric outages while preserving and protecting these beautiful birds. We thank PSEG Long Island for their continuing efforts to safeguard our environment and for protecting our precious osprey population.”
The Town of North Hempstead posted a YouTube video of the last time PSEG assisted the town with moving an osprey meeting.