Ospreys return to Seattle for spring

The osprey nest in Commodore Park.

The osprey nest in Commodore Park.

 

If you build it; they will come.

Ospreys have returned to two different manufactured nest sites near Seattle parks.

Three years ago, Seattle Parks and Recreation Facilities Maintenance crews, Natural Resource Unit crews and staff, Planning & Development staff, Parks Surveyors, Seattle City Light staff, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, Burlington Northern staff and a  U.S. Coast Guard employee worked on getting a replacement nest site for ospreys at Commodore Park in Magnolia.

The old nest had been dismantled because it was located on a telegraph tower on rail lines above the park. The tower was in disrepair and was in jeopardy of falling into the Ballard Locks below it. Staff worked together on siting the new nest, getting permits, fabricating a nest platform and installing a 70-foot pole and platform.  Two ospreys showed up at the platform the month after it was built, and two babies were born that year. A pair returned last spring from their wintering grounds in Central America and had one offspring. This year, another pair has been spotted adding nest material to the platform.

An Osprey spotted near the nest by Magnuson Park.

An osprey spotted near its nest by Magnuson Park.

 

Across the city, there have been reports of three different adult ospreys returning to a nesting site near Magnuson Park. Two years ago, ospreys made their home in the crow’s nest of a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration ship. A power company constructed a new pole and platform for the birds on land to lure them away from the boat. The first year the birds did not produce any offspring in the nest, but last year, two adult birds returned and produced at least two young.

Many volunteers have been monitoring the nest to see if these birds will produce offspring this year. Since the birds are not banded, it isn’t clear if the same birds are returning each spring. The nest can be seen from Kite Hill in Magnuson Park or from the parking lot of Building 27.

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