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Nest of squatting ospreys grows too large for LI homeowner

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Flanders resident Dhonna Goodale and her son Jared talked about an osprey nest that was built in their home's chimney five years ago. While at first the nest was a novelty to them, the family says the birds, which are a protected species, have become aggressive. The family has reached out to state environmental officials for guidance. (Credit: Newsday / Christopher Cameron)

A family of ospreys is squatting on a Flanders woman’s home.

Nestled in the stack of the house’s chimney, the osprey nest has grown too large for the homeowners’ liking over the past five years.

“This nest popped up the summer before [superstorm] Sandy,” Dhonna Goodale, a philanthropist, producer, and actress said. “As the years have gone on, they have built and built and built. And now it’s just crazy.”

Goodale’s veranda was covered in tree branches, bird droppings and half-eaten fish. The nesting pair of ospreys didn’t immediately pose a problem, Goodale said, but now the mother osprey has become increasingly protective of her young.

“It likes to terrorize the place,” Jesse Goodale, one of Dhonna’s twin sons, said of the mother osprey. “It throws twigs . . . Or poop.”

Currently housing two fledgling ospreys, the nest could remain active for another two months before the ospreys abandon it for the year. In the meantime, the mother bird has taken to attacking residents if they come too close to the nest.

“It’s like they’re getting ready to throw down a gauntlet,“ Goodale said.

Goodale said she’s sympathetic to the birds’ situation and is willing to keep them on the property until the fledgling ospreys have matured.

“Before this house was here, this was nature.” Goodale said. “We can’t just ignore them, and say ‘go away.’ ”

Once the birds leave, Goodale said she’s hoping to relocate the nest to a platform a short distance from the house, and add spikes to the chimney stacks to discourage a return visit. She added the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Long Island office hasn’t responded to her request for help with the problem.

“I’m letting them live here rent-free in a fabulous estate,” Goodale said. “I love having them, but you can’t be messy.”

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