EUGENE, Ore. — Eighty five feet about the track at Madison Middle School two osprey decided to build a nest. “If they decided a location is good for their nest they will just be very determined. They will be persistent and try over and over and over again,” said Louise Shimmel, Executive Director of the Cascade Raptor Center.
But the 4J School District said the location of this nest was dangerous, so it took it down. “I mean if you drop a stick from 885 feet if it comes down end first, you know it could potentially impale someone or cut them at the very least. So it’s just not a really good idea to allow a nest above a heavily used area,” said Harlan Coats, 4J Facilities Manager.
Federal law protects osprey eggs and young birds, but doesn’t protect the nest of two mature osprey like the ones at Madison Middle School. “But if we let them get an established nest and lay an egg then we can’t do anything and the problem with that is of course that the safety issue as well as potential fire hazards,” said Coats.
But the Raptor Center said regardless of legalities, the nest should stay. “I think it’s an ethical consideration because this particular pair has apparently tried to nest there the last couple of years and if they even give up after 2 or 3 attempts it’s probably too late in the season for them to nest successfully and for the young to be old enough to migrate,” said Shimmel.
So as the track is littered with broken limbs and twigs from the nest that once sat high above the track, the district and birding experts are trying to figure out what to do if the birds try to rebuild. “There’s community interest in this and people would love to be able to see the nest happen,” said Shimmel.
The district said it could build a pole for the osprey to build a new nest on if they do come back, but it’d cost around $4,500.