By Lisa D. Mickey

It’s only taken about eight years, but a pair of ospreys appear to be settling in on the osprey nesting platform that was installed at MDC during spring 2015. 

Our Conservation Science Coordinator, Tess Sailor-Tynes, snapped this photo last week through a pair of binoculars so as not to disturb the birds.

The ospreys have exhibited social behavior associated with breeding and have been lining the platform with vegetation for nesting for the last few weeks. This is the first time birds have potentially shown an interest in nesting at the site. Most of what has been observed over recent years has been roosting behavior by a variety of species, including osprey and bald eagles.

Osprey Nesting Platform

The nesting platform was a Coastal Systems project built by Florida Master Naturalist Program students Tom Draus and Susan Fetter during their class in autumn of 2014. The students conducted a presentation on ospreys and in their joint project, worked together to assemble the 40 x 40 square-inch platform with two perches.

Draus, a former NASA aerospace engineer, constructed the platform, while Fetter, a computer consultant, negotiated the donation of a 40-foot utility pole by the New Smyrna Beach Utilities Commission. The finished project was installed by City of New Smyrna Beach workers on the northwest corner of MDC’s property on April 7, 2015.

So, now, the clock is ticking. Are there eggs in the nest? Will MDC be the host site for a new nest of osprey chicks this spring? Will the parents stay busy bringing fish meals to their young?

Get your binoculars ready!

Osprey Nest (not at MDC) - photo by Don Chalfant

A closer view of a nesting pair (not at Marine Discovery Center). Photo by Don Chalfant, MDC Volunteer