Birds of prey hunt for home in Cottesloe

The osprey in the new Cottesloe nest. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
The osprey in the new Cottesloe nest. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

A FEATHERED couple is causing a flap after rare ospreys were identified at a new beachside nest in Cottesloe.

“It’s a new site, but they do choose new locations,” BirdLife WA vice-chair Mike Bamford told today.

Last week, Western Suburbs Weekly photographer Andrew Ritchie captured images of the fish-hunting birds with wingspans up to 1.7m in a nest more than 30m up a tree south of Cottesloe Beach.

“The timing is perfect as the Handbook of Birds of Australia says that in southern Australia they begin to attend the nest in July, laying eggs from late July through to September, so the chicks fledge in late spring to early summer,” Dr Bamford said.

He said the nest was not in the last report of 10 sites of where ospreys were found across Perth in 2017, when the only active nest was on the coast at Hillarys.

However, in previous years pairs of the birds have used in a tree in Peppermint Grove and were at the Old Brewery on Mounts Bay Road, and there was a possibility the Peppermint Grove pair could have relocated to Cottesloe.

“If this pair in Cottesloe actually breeds in this nest they will therefore be laying soon, incubating over August and feeding checks through October to November or thereabouts,” Dr Bamford said.

He said the greatest risk to the birds, which may lay up to three eggs, would be drones and their pilots seeking footage that could disturb the parents who may leave the chicks.

Ospreys have the full protection of WA wildlife law.

“Otherwise, enjoy the ospreys, as we are lucky to have them so publicly viewable,” Dr Bamford said.