St. Petersburg Times Online: News of southern Pinellas County
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Little League plans alternatives for the birds

A fire in an osprey nest atop a light pole leaves officials of a St. Petersburg Little League looking for solutions.

By NEGAR TEKEEI

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 31, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Branches and twigs, neatly woven into a nest, adorn the tops of a handful of electrical poles and light posts at the Northeast Little League fields on the corner of First Street N and 45th Avenue.

Inside nature's bird-made basket are the off-white, red-speckled eggs of the osprey, one of Florida's protected birds that has adapted to the depletion of habitable trees by nesting atop light and telephone poles, chimneys, television antennas, cranes and even sailboat masts.

While the new homes may be creatively built, when the lights are turned on or when the wires get tangled, an osprey, which typically weighs 4 pounds, can find itself in a dangerous situation of human proportions.

That's exactly what happened a few weeks ago, when an overgrown osprey nest co-inhabited by Quaker parakeets caught fire on a light pole at the Little League fields. Firefighters arrived and doused the flames, but, in the process, also destroyed the nest and its holdings.

Faced with either playing the fall season's games in the dark or putting the birds in further danger, Northeast Little League officials will be forced to build platforms for he birds.

Nancy Douglass, a regional nongame biologist with the Lakeland office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the protected status of ospreys means people who find them nested on their property must find ways to relocate the birds in much the same way that energy officials do along roads trimmed with electrical lines.

"It's kind of a double-edged sword," she said. "On one hand there are so many ospreys, but on the other, if we don't protect them, they will die out."

The solution -- relocation plans for osprey nests on all property where they may be in danger. If people do have an osprey nesting in a troublesome spot, they need to take action before eggs are young in the nest. People can apply for permits with the commission and then relocate the nest.

Little League officials have decided to do what many with the same problem are doing by building poles with platforms next to the nesting spot and moving the nest to the platform. Provided with various platform designs by the commission, league officials say what they need now is help in building the platforms.

Buddy Dauphin, coordinator for the league's T-ball teams, said the ospreys have most likely inhabited the fields for five years and are just recently in danger of light and electrical poles. In an effort to maintain the three osprey nests remaining after a storm in mid-September and the recent fire, the league is working hard to put the nests in a safer home.

"They do make a mess, but they don't bother us," he said.

Back to St. Petersburg area news
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
 
Special Links
Mary Jo Melone
Howard Troxler


From the Times
South Pinellas desks
  • Lack of sponsor cancels Santa's parade this year
  • Neighborhood may not be hemmed in
  • Firefighter appeals firing over porn
  • Causeway remodeling could start in 2002
  • Dew's move won't speed up Publix
  • Carnival of inclusion planned over four days
  • Memorial honors a teenage criminal
  • Hospital scuffle leads to 2 arrests
  • Hallmark moments amid the daily grind
  • Eckerd ex-professor Bredenberg dies
  • USF gets a hand in office space hunt
  • Lawsuit's strategy: better decisions
  • Six races, 600 miles for ultimate marathoner
  • Achievers
  • Class notes
  • It's all Greek
  • Blind woman's computer is her window to the world
  • Masked Ball appetizer is inventive, delicious
  • Eyes pop, jaws drop over local newsletter
  • Little League plans alternatives for the birds
  • Focus on volunteers
  • John's Pass Village caught off guard by water line work
  • What's up on campus
  • Beaches notebook
  • Armstrong ready to conquer leTour course
  • St. Petersburg center set for homecoming
  • Florida women lose at Southeast event

  •