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Utility builds nesting platform for ospreys in village

On Monday, July 17, 2017, PSEG Long Island installed a dedicated pole and nesting platform for a pair of osprey in Plandome Manor. The raptors had been nesting on a nearby utility pole, and the company wanted to keep the birds safe while also ensuring that the electrical system remains reliable (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)

PSEG Long Island on Monday installed an osprey nesting platform in the Village of Plandome Manor after a nest on a utility pole sparked a power-line fire that enveloped 1,500 homes in a blackout two weeks ago.

A PSEG crew had been dispatched to the pole near Plandome Road and Water Lane on July 4 after being notified of a power outage, and found an osprey nest on the pole burning from contact with nearby power cables, PSEG officials said.

While the ospreys were unharmed, the crew reported that the birds had begun rebuilding the nest almost immediately in the same location, the officials said. The company reached out to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and made plans to install a nesting platform that would attract the birds away from nearby power lines.

“This became a great opportunity for us to simultaneously support the ecosystem here on Long Island and support the reliability of our electrical system.” said Jeremy Walsh, communications specialist for PSEG Long Island.

PSEG crews on Long Island construct nesting platforms for ospreys a few times every year, either in response to reports of live nests on utility poles or with the knowledge that ospreys may endanger power lines in the future, according to DEC officials. Crews design the platforms to be taller than any nearby utility poles to encourage the birds to build their nests on the platform.

“Oftentimes they’ll remove the nest before the birds actually complete the nest, and then put a platform up nearby,” Kevin Jennings, a DEC wildlife biologist, said. “Or, once the birds leave for the season, they’ll destroy the nests because it doesn’t require a permit.”

Members of the PSEG crew in Plandome Manor Monday reported seeing the ospreys circling the newly constructed platform, PSEG officials said.

This is not the first time ospreys in Plandome Manor have nested on poles, said Barbara Donno, the village’s mayor. She added that after another osprey nesting platform that had been maintained by village officials for at least 30 years fell down in a storm, the birds began nesting on utility poles.

The blackout “is what we were afraid was going to happen when the ospreys did this a few years ago,” Donno said. “The ospreys had no place to go, so they started nesting on the wires.”

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