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Ospreys' nest overlooks S.E. light rail project

A family of ospreys has settled in on top of a cellular telephone tower behind the Wireless Plus store at S.E. 11th and Milwaukie Avenue, just north of Powell Boulevard.

The impressive and noisy “fish eagles” are raising a brood of two juveniles in a large stick-filled nest overlooking the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project, at the future Clinton Street Station.

In spite of the noise of passing freight trains and demolition equipment, round-the-clock lights, and a nearby fire station, the birds appear to be thriving, entertaining Brooklyn and Hosford-Abernethy neighbors who have been watching their progress.

“The birds seem to be most active in the mornings,” reports Charles German, President of Wireless Plus. “You can hear their calls in spite of all the noise around here.” The nest can be viewed by customers in the venerable Hotcake House restaurant, at 1002 S.E. Powell Boulevard, but the Washman Shell Express Station at S.E. 10th at Woodward Street probably has the best view.

by: RITA A. LEONARD - This osprey stick nest, nestled amidst the topmost antennas on this cellular phone tower just north of Powell Boulevard, houses two babies and two adult birds. One adult is seen here returning to the nest, while the other is out of sight, guarding the nest.Joshua Kord, an employee at Washman, is enthusiastic about the local raptors. “We’ve seen the adult birds fly low and tear twigs from the maple trees nearby to build their nest,” said Kord. “We thought at first they might be falcons. The nest got a lot bigger during the last couple of months, and finally, the folks over at Newhouse & Hutchins called the Audubon Society. They had a couple of guys climb up there to check out the nest, and found two juveniles there. They told us the birds were osprey, and couldn't be disturbed if there were eggs or young in the nest.”

Kord and his boss, Tom Winter, tell THE BEE they enjoy watching the birds with binoculars. “They have such big wings,” says Josh. “I’ve seen them flying way up high, and then they just fold their wings and dive straight down – it’s great. We’ve seen them bringing in fish and a squirrel to the nest for food. Sometimes you can see the babies’ heads peeking over the edge of the nest. The adults seem to stay pretty close, and one always stays there to guard the nest when the other goes hunting. We watch them all day long.”

The black and white speckled osprey have built several nests along the Willamette River, where they dive in to catch fish for food. However, this is probably the noisiest and most industrial site they could have chosen for nesting. Kord says their colors blend in well with the black and white extrusions on the cell tower, so the adults are pretty well camouflaged, except when they make their noisy, screeching calls, or chase away marauding crows. Folks in the vicinity are looking forward to when the adults begin teaching the young to fly.