Maryland Transportation Authority in nest battle with osprey - New York News

Maryland Transportation Authority in nest battle with osprey

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -

It has been a rough few days for a grand ole osprey trying to build a nest for the eggs it needs to lay. The trouble is where the bird wants to nest: in front of a traffic camera on a highway gantry perched above the eastbound lanes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

"You're close to water," says Joel Dunn, executive director of the Chesapeake Conservancy. "You're protected from predators."

That is the upside.

The downside is that the Maryland Transportation Authority doesn't want the nest to block its camera's view. And on several occasions over the past week, MDTA workers have removed the nests.

"I think it's a wise decision," says Dunn. "There are lots of other alternative sites for them to nest. In fact, we actually saw them flying just down the street here looking at a couple of other options."

John Sales, spokesperson for the MDTA, says they try not to interfere with the nesting habits of wild birds. But in this case they just can't.

Sales says they were given permission by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the nests as long as there were no eggs. That was the case, according to Sales.

He says they have only the osprey's safety in mind. The camera moves and makes noises which Sales says could agitate the bird and its chicks. And he says the MDTA needs the camera to monitor the roadway.

The osprey population in Maryland has had a huge resurgence over the past 40 years, according to Dunn. Ever since the chemical DDT was banned.

"Now that's not to say that there aren't challenges in the Chesapeake Bay," Dunn explains. "There are big problems with water quality, with development and the loss of habitat. So we still have a lot of work to do to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. But today, on Earth Day, we celebrate the success story."

Which for one bird remains slightly elusive at the moment.

The osprey's odyssey is being played out right in front of the camera. You can watch here: http://chart.state.md.us/video/video.php?feed=4900c5b02e84001c00503336c4235c0a

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