The Ospreys in Portland Harbor

The ospreys in their nest. Photo credit to Kathy

The ospreys in their nest. Photo credit to Kathy

Tall Ships in fiction and real life sometime feature the “crows nest,” a lofty perch for lookouts. Tall Ships Portland, may not have many crows’ nests but it will feature an Osprey Nest. Don’t worry – this isn’t another type of lookout perch – it is an actual Osprey Nest, recently built on pilings near Maine State Pier. Eagle-eyed visitors to Tall Ships Portland might get to spy these magnificent seabirds on the wing, and everyone can enjoy the sight of their nest – resting precariously on a dock piling. The osprey nest will be right next to Eagle during the event. Below is a post about the ospreys written by Kathy, a friend of Tall Ships Portland. 

These Ospreys have called Portland Harbor home for a long time. Their former home was near the end of the Maine State Pier, on the east side, atop a platform that had to be taken down. When the pair returned from their winter location to find the platform gone, they spent the next few years trying to nest on the new mega-berth, on a work-boat moored off the east end, and even on top of old pilings near the mega-berth.

They flew into the trees on the Eastern Prom, grabbing dead branches in their talons, and tried to construct nests, but were thwarted by everything from project engineers to boat owners to mother nature.

It's said that the instinct to return and nest near their natal nest is strong, and for this pair, that appears to be the case. While there are more than a half dozen osprey nests in the local area, with presumably more and perhaps better opportunity elsewhere, they wanted to be here. Eventually, a small group put up a nest near one of the same pilings the birds tried to nest on, and the pair not only built a nest but produced two healthy chicks.

This is the second year in their new location, and the chicks, who've been deep down in the nest, will soon be visible if they're not already.Watch for them among the pilings as well as at the top of the sailboat masts, and listen for their magical calls. Together with osprey from other area nests, they can sometimes be seen and heard flying and soaring in groups of three or four over the prom, the Hill, and by the treatment plant.

(Please note that  the Ospreys are easily disturbed and territorial; people must not go up to this or other nests in their boats: as soon as an osprey makes any noise (cries), it is a sign of agitation, and that you are too close and need to back off.)