Osprey nest could disrupt activity at Irondale High

New Brighton, Minn. (AP) — A federally protected bird of prey
has made its nest atop a light pole at Irondale High School’s
football field.

And because it’s against the law to disturb an osprey, school
officials are waiting to see whether school activities can go on as
scheduled. If not, the completion of an artificial turf project may
have to be postponed, and the school’s marching band and soccer and
football teams may have to practice elsewhere.

“I thought it was pretty awesome,” principal Colleen Wambach
said, recalling her first reaction. “Now I’m just hoping we can

Vanessa Greene, who heads the Twin Cities Osprey Project at the
Three Rivers Park District, said she was visiting the school to
assess the situation. There is at least one chick in the
3-foot-wide nest.

Greene said any youngsters likely hatched about five weeks ago,
and anyone taking actions that kill an osprey chick could be fined
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mounds View Schools official John Maas said the birds have been
“part of the Mounds View family. We’ve had work on the field all
summer and they haven’t seemed disturbed by it yet.”

Diesel trucks have been in the school parking lot, Maas said. In
addition, the fields were filled with activity as kids played
Legion ball and summer physical education students played
volleyball and golf and Frisbee there.

“If there are chicks in the nest, they’re climatized to all
that’s going on there,” Maas said.

Maas said he had asked the DNR about relocating the nest. He
learned they would need permits to move a nest, but nothing could
be done if there were eggs or young.

The osprey nest sighting was good news to Greene and John
Moriarty, natural resources manager for Ramsey County Parks. The
Irondale nest is the eighth in the Ramsey County area, Moriarty
said. It’s likely an offshoot of the Osprey Project, started in
1984 to reintroduce ospreys from northern Minnesota into the
metropolitan area. Last year, the project documented 53 osprey

Both naturalists said the nest should be moved when the birds
leave the nest. Since osprey return to their nests year after year,
a substitute pole with a special nesting platform could be put up

Maas said nobody realized the complications the bird would
bring. “We thought it was nice the osprey was there.”

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