Are There Ospreys in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Future?

On Saturday afternoon your correspondent joined a group of bird and park enthusiasts for a lecture and tour conducted by Bart Chezar, an engineer by training with an educational background in marine science, who has taken up several projects relating to that subject. One is re-establishing oysters in New York Harbor, and another is luring ospreys, large raptors, related to hawks and eagles, that prey on live fish which they catch by diving into water.
IMG_9421_1Mr. Chezar explained that ospreys typically build nests in the forks of dead trees in locations with good water views. He has built three structures, called osprey towers, that mimic forked tree trunks, with a platform inserted in the fork to provide a base for the nest. One was placed in a new park next to the Buttermilk Channel in Sunset Park, one on a pier at Governors Island, and one on part of the ruined Pier 4, below the foot of Montague Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park. That tower can be seen in the left background of the photo above. There’s a closer view of the tower in the photo below.
IMG_9405_1Ospreys that spend the spring and summer along the Middle Atlantic coast and in New England migrate to the Caribbean and the north coast of South America during the fall and winter. These birds have begun their return flights. Mr. Chezar hopes that a young male that has not yet established a nest site and mated–ospreys mate for life and return to the same nest each spring–will alight on the tower this year and build a nest.

You can learn more about ospreys and their migrations on this website. There’s even an app you can download to your iPhone or Android device that allows you to track the migrations of certain ospreys.

Osprey photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

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  • Brixtony

    Oh, I hope so!

  • C.

    Has there ever been an update as to why the pier 4 island is no longer an island? Are they going to make it an island again? I liked it better that way.

  • ClaudeScales

    There was something said about that during the osprey tower tour. As I recall, tidal currents caused the sand to pile up between Bird Island and the beach. It could be dredged, but probably would just pile up again.

  • AnnOfOrange

    Follow the link below to see how the Ospreys use a platform to build a nest. A few days back this one was empty and now appears about ready for eggs. This is a live cam 24/7 and wonderfully informative about the ways of Ospreys.

  • ClaudeScales

    There was some discussion Saturday about putting a live cam on our osprey tower if and when ospreys show up.

  • ujh

    Claude, I’ve been wondering about the osprey tower’s short distance to the shore and its accessibility by humans in BBP for it to be a desirable nesting site. Was this question addressed during the tour? The platform in the Jamaica Bay section of the Gateway Natl. Seashore is far out in the marsh and not accessible, and I’ve seen ospreys nesting there.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Yes I’ve seen several Ospreys over the Heights in recent months, part of the wonderful ever increasing overflights we’ve all so enjoyed. Most of the Ospreys had Marine corps markings but some had no agency markings whatsoever..what? Wait a minute..oh they mean the Bird? Oh sorry….

  • ClaudeScales

    That question was raised during the tour. Mr. Chezar said that ospreys aren’t shy about being near humans.

  • AnnOfOrange

    I needed a good laugh! Thanks!