New Osprey Nesting Platform Provides Waterfront Accommodations

By: Staff Reports and Contributors

Topics: Conservation , Environment

Members of Americorps Cape Cod join HCT volunteers in carrying the nesting pole across the marsh.  GERALD BEETHAM PHOTO

SOUTH HARWICH — Some high-profile seasonal visitors to town will enjoy new waterfront accommodations next spring, thanks to the Harwich Conservation Trust and AmeriCorps Cape Cod.

Last Thursday, volunteers erected a new osprey nesting platform on conservation land in the salt marsh behind Red River Beach. Funded by a donor to the Trust, the platform was assembled in the beach parking lot, carried across the marsh, and positioned in place in hopes of attracting an osprey couple when they migrate north in late March from places as far south as Venezuela.

Osprey numbers have rebounded after precipitous population decline linked to the use of the now-banned insecticide DDT, which caused the eggshells to become thin and brittle. Because many of today’s birds were raised in nests located on osprey platforms, they tend to eagerly make use of newly erected platforms.

“Further north, we’re considering adding an osprey platform to HCT’s Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve as the ecological restoration planning continues there,” Trust Executive Director Michael Lach said. Ospreys hold a special place in his heart. “When I was about 12, my father organized an osprey platform project in the marsh of Little Pleasant Bay for my sixth grade class. The students helped build the platform and the result was the first known nesting pair to return to the estuary. That osprey experience and my parents’ effort at always getting my brother and me outside has created a lifelong appreciation of the Cape’s natural lands, water, and wildlife,” he said.