Will an osprey rebuild its nest in the same spot?


We’ve had an osprey and its mate on the lake for more than 15 years. One weekend, their entire nest fell in the water. What will happen now? Will they build a new nest in a new location, or will they rebuild on the existing location?
—Angi Gallupe, via e-mail

It depends on why the nest fell down in the first place, and if the tree is still a suitable nesting site. Sometimes nests are blown down in a windstorm, the tree is old or dying and can’t support a nest anymore, or, since ospreys add materials to their nests every year, the nest becomes too enormous for the tree, says Myles Falconer, a biologist with Bird Studies Canada. “It’s not common for nests to fall, but it does happen. I wouldn’t give the birds credit for knowing how big to build a nest. They can maybe get a little carried away.” If the birds decide the tree is no longer feasible as a nest site, they’ll move on and build elsewhere, says Barb Puxley, founder of Friends of the Osprey, a volunteer non-profit preservation society in the Kawartha Lakes. They likely won’t leave your lake, though. “They always try to nest nearby.” If you’re concerned that your ospreys won’t find another spot, Friends of the Osprey (friendsoftheosprey.org) can advise you on building a nesting platform.