Osprey nest removed from Mindarie Marina ruffles feathers

Above: the Mindarie sculpture now, and (left) an osprey with the nest last breeding season. Pictures: Cassie White White
An osprey at the nest last breeding season. Picture: Cassie White
Above: the Mindarie sculpture now, and (left) an osprey with the nest last breeding season. Pictures: Cassie White White An osprey at the nest last breeding season. Picture: Cassie White

THE disappearance of an osprey nest from a sculpture at Mindarie Marina upset bird lovers and photographers recently.

The City of Wanneroo removed the nest to do maintenance but hopes the birds of prey will return to the Egyptian Rowboat sculpture.

A pair of the birds have reared several chicks in the stack at the northern end of Alexandria View in recent years.

Resident Cassie White captured a photo of one of the birds last breeding season and said they had been nesting there for more than six years.

“The nest was established on this artificial structure to compensate for the lack of adequate nest trees,” Ms White said.

“As the nest is used year after year, it is of concern that it has been removed so close to the breeding season.”

She said the Mindarie ospreys were a well known attraction as it was one of the few places people could get close to the birds without disturbing them.

“Many residents bring interstate or overseas visitors to the area to see the osprey and watch them hunt in the area,” she said.

“The current main threat to the ospreys is the loss, degradation or alteration of their habitat, however human disturbance is an increasing threat.”

The Osprey Coast Facebook page posted on July 12 that it was “shocked” to learn the nest had been removed.

The Visit Mindarie page, run by Mindarie Marina management, posted pictures on July 11 of “our favourite feathered locals, the #osprey, reclaiming their nest”.

A response from the City to questions from the Times said significant rust left untreated on the sculpture could have compromised the sculpture’s stability, putting members of the public and the nest at risk.

The City authorised removal of the nest to do the maintenance, having consulted the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

“The department recommended the work be undertaken in winter to allow the birds time to re-establish their nest before spring,” it said.

City cultural development manager Sue North said the City was committed to environmental conservation.

“The removal of the nest was a decision the City spent considerable time researching in order to determine the best course of action,” she said.

“We are delighted to hear several residents have seen, and photographed, the Ospreys’ return to the Egyptian Rowboat sculpture.

“This is certainly a positive indication they will return in the nesting season.

“This combination of art and nature is very beautiful and part of what makes the marina so special.”

Ms White said erecting nesting poles or other artificial structures could encourage the pair to return.

“It is distressing to have the nest removed completely,” she said.

“Many coastal areas erect nesting poles to encourage nesting in these structures and have erected educational signs about the ospreys.”

A coastal path north of the marina includes signage and a nesting platform for ospreys.

Consult Department of Parks and Wildlife before moving nests

THE Department of Parks and Wildlife recommends people consult it first before moving any nests.

Regional wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said if people came across nests when building, they should consult the department as soon as possible.

“They need to contact the department, even if it is on private property,” he said.

“We will always have to make an assessment on what’s in the best interest for the bird and what’s in the best interest for the people.

“The longer they leave it, the less chance they will be able to move it.”

Mr Craigie said the birds liked to build nests up high, often using telecommunications towers, and plans could be made to relocate the nests to do maintenance on those.

“Osprey usually have several nests within their terrain,” he said.