New Family in Long Beach aided by the U.S. Coat Guard have left town!
In this case the family was not people, but rather a pair of Ospreys who built a nest on top of the #7 buoy marker in Reynolds Channel this past spring. This marker is in Reynolds Channel, approximately due North of Pennsylvania Ave in the West End of Long Beach. Ospreys build nests on top of high structures which are isolated, thus this Channel marker was ideal. All Ospreys build sloppy nests made of sticks. Their nests are sturdy and large. So large, that the light on top of the marker was completely hidden from view. The absence of the light at night is a hazzard to navigation. Vessels looking for the light atop the #7 Channel Marker would not be able see it.
In the picture below you can hardly see the #7 on the green panels. The weight of the nest and its contents have split the marker’s front and right side as well as hiding the light on its top. In this picture, Momma bird is checking me out as I approach the nest in a boat. Eggs or possibly chicks are in the nest and so Momma Bird is on the alert to a possible threat.
What should the Coast Guard who are in charge of navigational aides do? Take down the nest so the light will be visible, and, in the process, destroy the eggs or chicks that are inside the nest or leave the nest and its contents alone?
The Coast Guard did neither! They placed a satellite #7 buoy close to the channel buoy that held the nest. Note the light atop the small buoy (left.) . The Coast Guard should be commended for their efforts to save these birds. Ospreys are increasing in numbers ever since DDT has been banned because of its effect upon bird reproduction.
In this photo (right), you see both the original marker and the satellite buoy. One of the parents is feeding the young while the other parent looks on.
Moving ahead to late August. The young have hatched, grown, and now are on their own. The nest has been vacated. The time has arrived for the Coast Guard to take the nest down. In both pictures, the Coast Guardsmen are shown clearing the top of the nest
The sailors have cleared the top part of the nest revealing the light on top of the pole (it is just to the left of the American flag) and the satellite buoy is now in the process of being hauled aboard the Coast Guard vessel .(Left. )
The right picture shows the satellite buoy safely aboard in the bow. Now the Coast Guard vessel is ready to return to its base. Their mission has been successfully completed.
During my years living in Long Beach this is the first Osprey nest I have seen so close to the City of Long Beach. There are other nests in the wetlands on high platforms especially constructed for the Ospreys along the Loop & Meadowbrook Parkways.
Fish are 99% of an Osprey’s diet. That is why they stay close to bodies of water.
Since Ospreys mate for life with same partner, perhaps, next year the same Osprey pair will rebuild the top of the existing nest and raise a new family.
I guess we and the Coast Guard will just have to wait and see!
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