Raptors on the coast: Osprey’s nest found on Delafield Island Road dock
Published 2:21 pm, Wednesday, May 10, 2017
DARIEN — Once nearly extinct in Connecticut thanks to the pesticide DDT, the osprey, a fish-eating bird of prey, has made a comeback in the state’s coastal region.
The presence of ospreys became a talking point at the end of April when a nest was found on the dock of 122 Delafield Island Road, whose owner is seeking approval from the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission to raze and rebuild the existing home and undergo major improvements. Concerned parties in town wanted to make sure the ospreys natural habitat was not violated, as had at times happened in the past.
Miller recalled, in particular, an incident several years ago in which ospreys nested on the roof of Darien Police Station, prompting the Animal Control Officer to attempt to remove a nest, an act prohibited by Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Connecticut General Statutes Section 26-92.
“They took the whole thing down and changed the construction of the pole and the rack it was built on. There’s nothing there to support the nest anymore,” Miller said.
An osprey pole in Scott’s Cove has also supported nesting for several years, as has a pier at Noroton Yacht Club, though Miller said she did not know of any other nests in town.
In 1972, when the pesticide DDT was banned, the number of ospreys nests in the state were down to 6, according to Milan Ball, senior director of science and conservation at the Connecticut Audubon Society. Miller said habitat destruction also played a role in the raptors’ disappearance.
However,,statewide osprey populations have since been monitored. In 2014, Ball created a program called Osprey Nation in conjunction with the DEEP, which enlists the help of more than 250 volunteers to map and monitor osprey nests in Connecticut.
Still, the Delafield Island Home where the ospreys have made their home is representative of the continued human threat to osprey populations. In 2014, more than 200 trees were felled on the coastal property.
According to biologist and Principal of Hartford-based Environmental Planning Services Michael Klein, who was contracted by the owner of the property to investigate the nest, it appeared that the ospreys were displaying nesting behavior, an indication that there may be one or more eggs. Based on migratory patterns, Klein said that by the time any construction might take place, in September or October, the birds will have left Darien for warmer weather.
Still, Miller wants to ensure the well being of the animals is considered.
“Just out of respect to another living being they need to work around the osprey. We tend to want to do what we want, when we want to do it, and that doesn’t jive with what nature has to say about it,” Miller said.
Chris Marquette contributed reporting to this story.