PHOTOS: Osprey Nesting In Burien Cell Phone Tower Will ‘Take Your Caw Now’
We were first alerted to this by former BTBer Gina Bourdage, now with Discover Burien – a large Osprey (originally thought by many to be a bald eagle), has made its nest in a cell phone tower just behind Thai’s Corner Restaurant on First Ave South near SW 148th, just west of the SR-509 freeway.
Ospreys are also sometimes known as ‘Seahawks‘ due to their ability to hunt fish so well, so this is an appropriate new neighbor to have.
Scott Schaefer managed to take some pics of the large bird, which at one point left its nest and was quickly pursued by crows in a mini-dogfight over the freeway:
According to National Geographic:
Ospreys are superb fishers and indeed eat little else—fish make up some 99 percent of their diet. Because of this appetite, these birds can be found near ponds, rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways around the world. Ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet (9 to 30 meters) up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind resistance.
We found it somewhat odd that a creature that makes fish 99% of its diet would be nesting this close to a freeway, but according to Doug Osterman, Green/Duwamish Watershed Coordinator for King County:
“The cell phone tower might incorporate features that are attractive to the ospreys, including that it’s higher than surrounding trees. Doubtful danger to the bird, but to the technology—unsure (sometimes utilities provide nesting opportunities with their tall poles—sometimes required by permitting agencies). Ospreys have pretty big home ranges so it’s not inconceivable that they are fishing from Puget Sound, but the more likely fish sources are the open water wetlands in the vicinity of SR-509 such as the big upper Walker Creek wetland and the wetlands north of the airport in the Miller Creek basin.”