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Osprey Project in Falmouth provides safer nests — and a model for other towns

Female Osprey on Clinton Ave, Falmouth.
Female Osprey on Clinton Ave, Falmouth.

Two years ago osprey nests on utility poles in Falmouth caused 10 fires, a number of which led to power outages and birds dying.

That’s according to the Osprey Project, local volunteers who have been working to provide safer nesting sites.

The Project recently met with utility company Eversource to identify poles in Falmouth that need nest deterrents.

Barb Schneider, the project’s co-founder, said the utility has agreed to complete the work before the ospreys arrive in March.

“That’s what we’ve been able to achieve – that pattern: identify, get the nest removed, deter, put up the alternative,” Schneider said.

The Osprey Project says there are 150 known nests just in Falmouth.

Barnstable and Chatham have also seen fires break out on utility poles because of nests.

The partnership between the Osprey Project and Eversource in Falmouth could provide a model for other towns in the region, Schneider said.

Schneider said that while nearby towns have reached out for guidance, every town will have its own issues to resolve.

“We can tell them our process,” Schneider said. “But they have to work with their conservation commission and their permitting, because each town is different in what they allow.”

Eversource in an email statement said, “We appreciate the robust collaboration with municipalities, environmental experts and community groups, like the Osprey Project, in developing our osprey management plan, and we remain committed to making progress together.”

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.