Two ospreys can sleep safely tonight in the same home the built on an electric pole near Essex last spring, no longer in danger of electrocution.
Workers from the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. moved the birds' four-foot-long, oval nest yesterday from its original spot on top of a 7,600 volt wire to a platform four feet higher on the pole.
The pole is located on the 2600 block of Holly Neck Road in eastern Baltimore County.
The ospreys, members of an endangered species, were not in the nest when workers carefully removed the crossarm of the pole that their nest lay upon.
Because the species is protected under federal Migratory Bird Act,BG&E officials didn't want to disturb a nest that contains chicks. But this nest showed no signs of young birds: neither eggs nor fish bones lay inside, said Greg Kappler, an environmental scientist with BG&E. Instead, workers were amused to find the remains of a Dunkin' Donuts bag.
The nest's new location is better for two reasons, according to BG&E spokesman Arthur J. Slusark. The birds are not close enough to the wire to be electrocuted, and nearby homes are in no danger of losing power because of the birds' interference.
Osprey, sometimes called fish hawks, tend to return to the same nest each year, adding more twigs, grass and mud to the old structure every spring. Because of this tendency, company officials decided to keep the nest as close as possible to the original location, hoping that the birds will return to a safe spot instead of building again on the electric wire, Kappler said.
Though this osprey nest move was the first for BG&E, the problem is fairly common for electric companies elsewhere.
The birds, which usually grow to the size of small eagles, often make their homes atop electric pole crossarms because they like to be high above the ground, on sturdy structures that will accommodate the annual increase in the nest's size.
Yesterday's move went smoothly, without interrupting electric service to the 30 customers nearby, Slusark said.
When the move was completed after 2 1/2 hours, two ospreys began circling the air above the nest. Kappler said. He said they may have been the inhabitants of the nest, though neighborhood residents told him they have seen eight different ospreys in the area.