By Nicole Trigg
The osprey platform at Kinsmen Beach has been upgraded and its residents are now enjoying their refurbished room with a view overlooking Lake Windermere.
On Wednesday, April 13th, crowds gathered to watch as a BC Hydro crew, using a bucket truck, dramatically lifted the nest occupying the raised platform at the entrance of the Kinsmen Beach parking lot in order to replace both it and the pole.
The poles are checked for structural integrity approximately every five years, Ava Boehringer told The Pioneer. Ms. Boehringer is a registered professional biologist who works for BC Hydro as a natural resource specialist. They do a visual inspection of the pole, and they basically note anything that could affect the structural integrity of the pole.
The old pole supporting the nesting platform was replaced with a new one made of red cedar, while the platform itself was replaced with one made of yellow cedar.
We used pine poles for a number of years, but were finding they just dont last as long as cedar poles, Ms. Boehringer said. They have to be replaced more often, so weve gone back to using cedar poles.
Ospreys are a protected species in B.C., but appear to cope with human interference well, usually returning to their nest within ten minutes after a relocation or platform replacement. Ms. Boehringer estimates she oversees between 10 and 15 relocations in the East Kootenay each year.
These ospreys were actually back as soon as the crew left. Less than five minutes later, both were back in the nest, she said. They have a really high fidelity to their nest. And they dont really mind people very much at all.Because osprey nests are protected under the BC Wildlife Act, BC Hydro obtain a permit to do relocations. Ms. Boehringer is only required to be present for a relocation if a nest contains eggs or chicks. In this case, neither was present, but because ospreys have returned to the East Kootenay three to four weeks earlier than normal this year, shes not taking any chances.
The birds came back, not last week, but the week before. We had a few birds (then) but in the last week they were back in full force. Its early, she said. Usually I dont see them until the first week in May.
Because of the birds early arrival, Ms. Boehringer will be on site for any relocations, such as the one at Kinsmen Beach. Shes expecting to start seeing eggs in another week or two.
Right now, for any nests that we do, Im going to come to site because its just too close to call. Id rather be there than not.
These particular osprey at Kinsmen Beach will definitely be laying some eggs and raising some chicks, likely in the next couple of weeks, she said.
When the powerline technicians raised the nest with the BC Hydro bucket truck after supporting the nest with crisscrossed aluminum ground rods, the centre fell out, leaving a hole in the centre of the nest, visible from the ground.
In the centre they seem to put a lot of moss, fewer branches and more soft material for the eggs, and so that just fell out of the middle, Ms. Boehringer explained. (The ospreys) just put that back in.”