A pair of osprey that are fixtures at the waterfront in Centreville, Maryland, have a new home, thanks to the concern of their many human admirers and the generosity of Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage.
For several years now, the osprey have nested on a home-built platform across from the Centreville wharf on the upper reaches of the Corsica River. A few years ago, the platform began leaning, and by last year’s nesting season, it was perched at a precipitous angle. A wooden prop helped the platform stay more or less up, though by the end of the season the osprey and their young were living at a severe list.
Enter several concerned locals (author included) who in late February contacted Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH), a private, non-profit, member-supported organization based in nearby Chester whose goal is to restore, manage and protect wildlife habitat on the Bay. CWH does this in part by helping property owners, schools, businesses, and community groups make their properties and backyards more accessible for wildlife. For waterfront property owners, this often means siting and building osprey nest platforms.
By early March, the osprey pair had returned and were already defying gravity by bringing sticks and other nesting materials to the old platform. Partnering with the Town of Centreville Parks Advisory Board, CWH’s Andi Pupke, a biologist and education and outreach director, conferred with the property owner and learned he was unable to fix the old platform. Noting the concern of many locals, CWH decided to donate a new platform to replace the listing one, as well as add a brand-new platform beside a marsh nearby.
Within just a few hours of CWH’s team removing the old platform and installing a new one, the osprey were already delivering twigs, sticks, and other housewares to the new digs, and they’ve been busily making improvements ever since.
“Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage is happy to help the nesting osprey in the Centreville area and to please the bird lovers in the neighborhood,” Pupke says. “Humans have a major impact on wildlife, and this is one way that we can make that impact be positive.”
CWH has placed hundreds of osprey platforms in the Bay’s tributaries for over 25 years. Founded in 1980, has also restored 1,526 acres of wetlands, created 6,181 acres of warm season meadows and planted 874 acres of trees. For more information visit www.cheswildlife.org .
-Wendy Mitman Clarke