Osprey nest successfully relocated in Guntersville

Updated: May. 16, 2019 at 6:26 PM CDT
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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Utility crews and other experts took part in an incredible effort to protect a family of ospreys.

Their nest was in a perilous spot and thanks to the work of many caring people, the ospreys are now safe and sound in a new home.

The large nest, perched on top of a power pole in Guntersville, became the focus of a heartfelt operation along Highway 69 on Thursday at the intersection of Brown Creek Road. Experts meticulously moved it to a much better location.

“We want to keep our reliability high at the lowest possible cost but we want to do that in an environmentally responsible manner. So we have experts here from TVA, Mississippi State and USDA to help us make sure we’re complying with all applicable laws and regulations,” said Scott Spence, General Manager of Arab Electric Cooperative.

Ospreys are very large, distinctively shaped hawks. Years ago, they were endangered and they’re still a protected species.

"They have recovered well due to the landscape, reservoirs and the artificial structures that provide nesting habitats. They're doing really well. But we still want to protect this bird and we want to protect the asset here with the electric to be able to provide the community with a good, reliable source of power so we have a potential risk of putting that line out with this nest being there," explained RJ Moore, TVA Natural Resource Senior Specialist.

The nest was moved 950 feet away to a platform across the highway in the parking lot of a public boat launch.

"There are two chicks, that are fairly newborn, somewhere between two and five days old. And there's one unhatched egg. We want to capture the bird, and be able to band it with some identifying bands on it and the transmitter on it as well so that we can track this bird," Moore stated.

Many residents in the area watched what was happening as the crews from TVA, Guntersville PD, Mississippi State and USDA moved the nest and birds to their new location.

“This is the third year the ospreys have been here. I think it’s a very good story. It’s a humane cooperation. We don’t have to hear about the bad news. It’s good news. It’s very interesting to me,” said Jan Charlton who often watches the magnificent birds of prey fly over her home.

Some deterrents will be put up on a few power poles to keep the ospreys from coming back. Everyone was very pleased to see a happy ending for the ospreys.

“Hopefully the nest will go well for the future and the birds can live happily close to the water,” Spence said. “We want to keep the birds safe, keep the lights on.”

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