CMP installs osprey perch near West Harbor Pond

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 2:00pm

When the ospreys fly north this spring, some will find safer lodging along the causeway near West Harbor Pond in Boothbay Harbor, thanks to Central Maine Power.

On Wednesday, March 22, a CMP work crew installed an osprey nesting box atop the utility pole to make it safer for the birds. The box was extended above the power lines via a metal pipe and secured on top of the pole.

According to an AVINGRID/CMP spokesperson, Ted Varipatis of Serra Public Affairs, who was at the installation, “the boxes are being built based on a design created by the Cornell Ornithology Lab, and we will be installing the boxes both on our structures and on alternative poles when necessary.”

“While the birds are out of state, Central Maine Power will occasionally install osprey boxes, which are nesting boxes placed safely distanced from the power lines to help protect the birds,” Varipatis wrote in an email to the newspaper.

Merritt Blakeslee, a West Harbor Pond Watershed Association member, said Wednesday he “stumbled upon a CMP cherry-picker tearing the nest down (from the pole in September 2021), asked the operator for a contact at CMP, and was able to negotiate the outcome you saw today.” On Wednesday, Blakeslee was interviewed by a WCSH Channel 6 news crew during the installation.

Varipatis said the Somerset Career & Technical Center carpentry class and outdoor program have partnered with CMP and are working together to build osprey nesting boxes for this conservation program. This partnership was spearheaded by Mark Bedard, CMP substations supervisor, who is on their school board.

Additionally, CMP has worked with U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to ensure the health and safety of the osprey, said Varipatis.