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New osprey nesting platform built near Ballard Locks

Posted by Meghan Walker on March 29th, 2012

You may remember last fall when we reported that an osprey nest was taken down from the train trestle just west of the Ballard Locks. After some research and consideration, Seattle Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Seattle City Light, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has built a nesting platform in Commodore Park to imitate the former nesting site of the ospreys.

Photo courtesy Shannon Down

Heidi Narte, the acting resource conservation coordinator for Seattle Parks, says the Parks Department consulted Chris Anderson from the Department of Fish and Wildlife when deciding where to place the structure. The old nest was perched atop a 90-year-old  telegraph tower, says Narte. The tower became a safety hazard, and was taken down by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) crews in October. BNSF and the Department of Fish and Wildlife approached the Parks Department in order to build a new nesting site. Seattle City Light has put up similar nesting platforms before, and so Seattle Parks also requested their input.

Narte says Anderson, as a bird wildlife biologist, thought the birds were habituated to the site, and there was a good likelihood the birds would utilize the new site. The 4 foot by 4 foot nesting platform was even equipped with some branches as a sort of “starter” nest, says Narte. As they were setting up the platform, they thought they spotted a male osprey circling above, which is hopeful for the new nesting site, Narte added.

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