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Natural Resources Police Save Osprey Nest from Abandoned Boat

Conservation Officers Build New Home for Nesting Birds

Photo of officers moving osprey nest from abandoned boatTwo ospreys have a new and secure nest thanks to three Maryland Natural Resources Police officers.

A 1975 Marinette vessel docked at Goodhands Creek Landing in Chester has been partially sinking and resting on the natural bottom since October of 2020. Because officers were unable to locate the owners, the boat was declared abandoned and scheduled to be removed at the end of April. 

As part of a routine check, NRP Cpl. Kim Austin noticed that it was now home to two ospreys building a nest. 

Austin saw that there weren’t any eggs or young birds in the nest, meaning that the nest was inactive and could be removed per U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines. 

Photo of officer with a nest platform they constructedBecause ospreys typically lay eggs in their nest in either April or May, Austin knew she needed to act quickly and enlisted the help of fellow NRP officers John Butts and Simon Roe.

“I knew that the boat was going to be moved and so would the nest; I also knew that I was running out of time,” Austin said. “While on patrol, I’ve watched the ospreys take the time to build their nest and we didn’t want any of their work to go to waste.”Photo of osprey in nest on platform in the water

Austin purchased the materials to construct a new nest for the ospreys, and on April 12, using their own tools, Butts and Roe built the ospreys a new and sturdy nest on a piling in the creek right near the abandoned boat. The next day, Austin and Butts used their patrol boat to drive to the abandoned vessel where the original nest was and secured the new nest to a piling nearby and moved the branches from the original nest into the new one. Working together, they were able to secure and fill the new nest. 

Once back on land, the officers saw that the ospreys landed in the nest and took to their new home.