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Saving the lives of ospreys

Fort Myers Beach residents team up with Moss Marina to support osprey nest

By Nathan Mayberg - Editor | Apr 15, 2021

With some extra support for this osprey's nest and a new location above a tree and some shrub with grass underneath, the Kosters hope there won't be any tragedies this year with the osprey hatchlings. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

For years, residents of Third Street on Fort Myers Beach have enjoyed the sight of ospreys nesting in their neighborhood.

The last two were not as joyful.

In each of the past two years, the babies that hatched fell out of their nest onto the concrete and died.

Funerals were held. Prayers were made. Burials were given to the hatchlings.

This year, Third Street resident Tess Koster and a few community members joined with Moss Marina to find a way to get the nest into a safer place, out of harm’s way.

With some extra support for this osprey's nest and a new location above a tree and some shrub with grass underneath, the Kosters hope there won't be any tragedies this year with the osprey hatchlings. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

For years, the local osprey would nest on the roof of the Moss Marina building nearby on Harbor Court which houses numerous boats. After the building was painted one year, the osprey changed their tastes and settled on a nearby telephone pole across the street from Koster’s house for the last two years. “Two sets of babies died each year from falling out of the nest onto the cement,” Koster said.

Her husband dug a hole each time to bury the baby ospreys.

This year the ospreys decided to try the top of fork lift on the property of Moss Marina. “The ospreys figured out they had to go somewhere else,” Koster said.

Once again, the baby ospreys would face the likelihood of falling onto cement from atop the forklift. In addition, Moss Marina had other plans for the forklift.

After consulting with the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Koster suggested the company build a pole overlooking grass on its property and move the nest there. After getting approval that they could move the nest when it wasn’t inhabited, Moss Marina built the pole over a period of two days and transferred as much of the nest as they could. There is also some shrub underneath the pole to slow down the descent of the babies when they first take flight.

With some extra support for this osprey's nest and a new location above a tree and some shrub with grass underneath, the Kosters hope there won't be any tragedies this year with the osprey hatchlings. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Mitch Burnette, a sales and warranty specialist with Moss Marina, worked with Koster on helping the ospreys. He hopes the new nest location will be “more accommodating.”

Koster’s husband Rod and friend Pat Sheedy built a wooden platform to support the nest as well as a wooden space for the male osprey to clean the fish he catches. Over the years, Koster and her husband have noticed the male osprey likes to clean the fish, Koster said.

Now, Koster gets a good view of the nests each day, checking out the nest to see activity and watching the female osprey cover the eggs. Koster has witnessed the ospreys adding on to the nest.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Koster said. The whole neighborhood talks about them and watches them. It’s just wonderful. We peek out our windows and check out the ospreys every day.”

Burnette said the time and cost of building the new pole for the ospreys wasn’t a concern. “It’s worth having the ospreys here,” Burnette said. “I love seeing them every time I go to work.”

With some extra support for this osprey's nest and a new location above a tree and some shrub with grass underneath, the Kosters hope there won't be any tragedies this year with the osprey hatchlings. / Photo by Nathan Mayberg

Koster expects this season to work out better for the hatchlings of the ospreys.

“This year, I have a hunch the babies will live,” she said.

Pat Sheedy, of Minnesota, works on a wooden support beam for an osprey nest as well as a wooden platform for the male osprey to clean fish as Rod Koster of Fort Myers Beach looks on. / Photo provided by Tess Koster