Connecticut Light & Power may have two mascots–a pair of Osprey nicknamed Light and Power who now have a new home thanks to the energy company’s efforts.
A few weeks ago, a CL&P utility pole, just beyond the football field behind , caught fire due to an Osprey nest, which was nestled at the top of the pole, close to the power lines.
Mitch Gross, Spokesman from CL&P, said the power was killed to the area and rerouted for area customers; no one was injured during the incident.
Faced with a dilemma, said, Gross, the Osprey couple relocated several hundred yards down the line and began building a new nest atop another utility pole.
The area where the migrating birds return for summer is just next to the Branford River and thus a perfect spot for nesting, reproducing and feeding their young–Osprey are birds of prey who dine on mostly fish.
The new home created by the birds, shared Gross, is yet again another fire hazard and so much so, the utility company has not been able to restore the power to the area. In an effort to prevent another hazard, the Madison team of CL&P spent the better part of last Wednesday erecting an Osprey tower made from a 50-foot utility pole and a specially designed platform.
Meg Costello, Environmental Technician for CL&P, said she followed a diagram to construct the three-by-three-feet platform for the osprey, which was covered in a heavy-duty chicken wire. The hope, said Costello, “is to force them onto this pole.”
The new pole is about 10 feet higher than the utility pole and Gross believes the Osprey, which are fond of building high nests, will take to their new digs in a few days' time.
As the workers secured the platform on top of the pole, the pair of osprey circled the site several times seeming to approve of their new plateau.
While the work was taking place, students from the class at BHS were circling the track, curious as to what was happening. Principal Lee Panagoulias, who shared that he majored in marine biology in a previous life, said he was happy about CL&P’s effort. “Something nice for the ecosystem in the area comes out of the situation with the pole fire,” said Panagoulias. He continued to explain more about the Osprey and their habits but had to get back to his principal duties.
After the Osprey tower’s completion, workers headed down to the existing nest to remove it from the power lines in order to restore power to the area. One concern at the time of the removal, was the potential of eggs in the nest as it is mating season, but Gross reported there were none found.
The erection of such a tower has only been done a handful of times by CL&P and is something both Gross and Costello said they were proud to witness. Now it’s up to the birds to decide if the new home is right for nesting.
You can see more photos from the day on the CL&P Flicker webpage.