A new nest to call home

A Connecticut Light & Power worker builds a new nest for a pair of ospreys atop a 50-foot pole Friday morning at the intersection of Cold Spring Road and Lopus Road Extension in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Connecticut Light & Power has given a pair of ospreys a new home in Beacon Falls to call their own.

On Friday morning, CL&P crews erected a 50-feet-pole with a specially designed 3-feet-by-3-feet platform at the top for the ospreys to build their nest at the intersection of Cold Spring Road and Lopus Road Extension.

“It’s a step in the right direction. They’re definitely trying to right the wrong,” said Naugatuck resident Keith Thomas about CL&P building the new nesting site.

The pole sits a few feet away from the 48-foot utility pole on which the birds had already built a nest, which was removed by CL&P for safety reasons on April 21.

Members of the Naugatuck River Revival Group had been watching the nest for the past year or so and Thomas noticed the nest missing on his way to work last week.

Thomas, along with Naugatuck River Revival Group President Kevin Zak, raised concerns there were eggs in the nest when CL&P took it down.

Osprey, a type of hawk with a white underbelly and curved wings, were considered endangered in the 1970s but have since grown in population. They are still considered a protected species.

CL&P has said there were no eggs in the nest when it was taken down. Some believe a work order for the job gives credence to the concern that eggs were in the nest. A Department of Energy and Environmental Protection investigation into the matter concluded there were no eggs in the nest.

A Connecticut Light & Power worker takes branches from an osprey nest atop a utility pole at the intersection of Cold Spring Road and Lopus Road Extension in Beacon Falls Friday morning to be used in a new nest several feet away built by CL&P. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“We realize some people were very upset initially when the report came out. But, we want everyone to be assured we work side-by-side with DEEP on issues like this,” CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross said.

On Friday morning, Thomas and Zak came out to film the new nest going up. Their focus turned to the future and the excitement of the nest being built.

“I am extremely happy with CL&P doing this,” Zak said. “I’m ecstatic.”

Zak said creating the nest could be the start of a wonderful osprey program on the Naugatuck River and attract attention to the river.

“Maybe now more attention will be drawn to really how unique the Naugatuck River is in Connecticut,” Zak said.

Thomas, who has volunteered to build a nest in Milford, said doing so with volunteers is labor intensive. He hoped CL&P will start to help putting more nests up in the state because the company has the equipment and manpower to easily do so.

“I’m trying to help ospreys make their comeback,” Thomas said.

The nest is higher than the utility pole because ospreys like high places near water to build their nests, which makes utility poles attractive nesting locations.

Gross said similar nests built by CL&P in Branford and Niantic have been successful in attracting the hawks and keeping them from nesting on utility poles.

“I think we’re all looking forward to see how quickly the ospreys make the nest their new home,” Gross said.