June 21, 2024
Annapolis, US 90 F

Osprey nestlings may have died when homeowner cut tree in Eastport

Stock Image, Not Actual Osprey

UPDATE:  Maryland Natural Resources Police responded to our inquiry and advised that there was no violation.

Our officers responded to this incident.  The nest that was removed was not active(no eggs or young).  All applicable regulations and permits were obtained prior to removal.  No violation occurred.

As anyone who lives near the water knows, you really need to cross your “T”s and dot your “I”s to make sure you comply with all the regulations. And that is just to build or modify.

This morning, we learned that a homeowner on Little Harbor Way in Eastport may have cut down a tree at his waterfront property which housed 2 osprey nestlings. Osprey are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and removing a nest is problematic and involves a lengthy permitting process on the Federal level.  From the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

Q. What should I do if ospreys nest on my dock, boat or house?
A. Ospreys, just like other migratory birds, are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. But sometimes landowners want to remove these nests, because of their location.
Osprey nests can be removed without a permit from structures such as boats, docks, construction equipment etc. as long as there are no eggs or young in the nest (inactive).

If eggs or young are present the nest is considered active. And to be removed requires a federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act permit from the Service’s Northeast Regional Office (Division of Migratory Birds) at 413-253-8643. In Maryland, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Heritage should also be contacted at 1-877-463-6497.

The permit process can be lengthy, particularly if the active nest does not pose a safety hazard, therefore removal of nesting material from nests under construction should be conducted on a daily basis to deter birds from nesting.

If an active nest has to be removed, an alternate nest site should be identified through coordination with your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office and local state wildlife agency office. In some instances, installation of a suitable nesting platform maybe required.
Joint Federal/Maryland Permit
Osprey Platform Plan
View more information at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/migratorybirds/ and http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Contacts/index.asp

A neighbor has reported the tree-cutting to the various authorities and has also posted to the Eastport Neighborhood Forum page on Facebook.

Hats off to our heartless neighbor in Eastport who knowingly cut down a tree that housed a mating pair of Ospreys and their newly hatched young. Then proceeded to verbally abuse my wife when she informed him she was calling DNR police. “Hey cuckoo, I’d like to see you in handcuffs!” amongst other verbal assualts. It’s the house on Little Harbour Way with the red roof….If you know or see this guy join me in letting him know how you feel for harming a protected migratory species and handling it with such class. I’m following up with The City Of Annapolis, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and anyone else I can think of to make sure proper permits were in place, and if so, how could they be granted with a known nest of young. We watched for hours as the parent ospreys searched with a fish in their talons to feed their now dead young. This just sucks!

The home is one of ten homes in an enclave leading into the Watergate Apartments along Americana Drive with prices starting at $1M.

The tree company who removed the tree has said that the permits were in place; but it is unclear if they were aware that the nest was active.

The DNR and the USFWS could not confirm the investigation at time of publication.

Screenshot 2015-05-29 14.44.12

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