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Osprey Successfully Raising Chicks on Seattle City Light Nesting Platforms

Seattle City Light has been great help to the local osprey population, which has experienced a bit of a baby boom this year.


Pair of osprey nesting near the Duwamish River where three chicks hatched this year.

Seattle City Light has been great help to the local osprey population, which has experienced a bit of a baby boom this year.

This year, eight chicks hatched at three nesting platforms installed by City Light.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the two chicks born at the latest platform, installed at Commodore Park.

A pair of osprey nesting on a platform in Tukwila hatched three chicks. Three more chicks were born this year to a nesting pair at a platform in Cecil Moses Park along the Duwamish River.

“In 2012, it was very satisfying to have osprey successfully fledge young from the nest platforms recently installed by Seattle City Light crews,” City Light Biologist Ron Tressler, said. “By providing the nest platforms, Seattle City Light is able to reduce the risk of birds being electrocuted when trying to nest on our poles and towers, and thus, improve electricity reliability for our customers.”

Seattle City Light is actively engaged in protecting osprey to be good stewards of the environment in the areas where the utility operates and to protect the reliability of electrical service for our customers.

Ospreys like to nest at the top of broken off trees where they get a good view of nearby waterways where they might catch fish. The birds often view utility poles as a good substitute, not realizing the danger posed by the power lines. Nests or the birds can cause a short circuit, electrocuting the birds, knocking out power and even start a fire.

To prevent this, Seattle City Light has been putting up nesting platforms for the osprey to provide a safe place for ospreys to nest and hatch their chicks. The utility also has installed shields called nest exclusion devices on some poles to prevent ospreys from nesting or perching there.

Jim Kaiser, a biologist from Osprey Solutions, advised on the locations and design of the shields. 

Nest exclusion device that was installed at Harbor Island

 Platforms for the osprey have been built in various locations ranging from the Duwamish River, Tukwila, and Commodore Park.  A platform along the Duwamish River, which has been actively used by osprey, was originally built in 2004. Shortly after, another platform was built over Cecil Moses Park along the Duwamish River.  The platforms near the river were perfect for the osprey because fish make up 99 percent of the ospreys’ diets.

Osprey nesting season is slowly winding down, but the platforms will surely serve as great help to osprey and their families in the future.

“For now we are home free for the rest of the year until next April when we have to start keeping an eye on stuff,” Tressler said. “We now have platforms built just in case the situation arises.”