Osprey Facts and Frequently Asked Questions

Osprey Management Program and Cam

To learn more about the osprey’s habitat, nesting, and other lifecycle questions, check out our Osprey Fun Facts page. We hope this information provides more insight into these special birds. The following are questions regarding PSEG Long Island’s Osprey Management Program and Osprey Cams. 

Why does PSEG Long Island care about ospreys?
PSEG Long Island is committed to the communities we serve. We invest in the economy, environment and infrastructure to make the places where we operate better places to live and work. This commitment includes not only protecting our equipment, but also protecting raptors , like the osprey, that live here on Long Island and are likely to interact with our infrastructure. PSEG Long Island workers have safely relocated dozens of osprey nests in order to ensure they are clear of high voltage systems. We have also taken additional actions to make nests safe in places when relocation isn’t required.

How do you know what to do at each nest location?
We have developed a four-stage process, supported by multiple departments in our company and partnerships throughout the community. For each report we receive of an osprey nest on our equipment, we follow these steps to determine the best stewardship actions:

  • Inventory and investigate
  • Engage community partners
  • Assess management options
  • Take conservation action

 
Why do the ospreys like the platforms that you install when relocation is required?
One important factor is that these platforms tend to be higher than anything around them. Ospreys often prefer to be in the highest structure in the general area to keep an eye out for predators, and platforms typically provide an unobstructed view around their home. 

Where do the ospreys go at night?
The female osprey will stay at the platform when there are eggs or chicks in the nest. Both parents tend to sleep away from the platform when they are not caring for young, often choosing nearby trees.

What happens if the male osprey does not return to the nest after eggs are laid?
In the case of the male not being present for over a day or two, our Wildlife Conservation team has consulted with experts and they strongly suggest that if the male has not returned that the female, following the direction of her own time-honed survival instincts must now care for herself, as there is no ecological purpose for her to sacrifice her life for unhatched eggs that she would be unlikely to care for on her own even if they could hatch. The female’s decision may seem hard for us as humans to understand, but not for the female, as she instinctively knows what actions are in the best interest of her species survival and takes those actions without hesitation.

What happens to the eggs in an abandoned nest?
PSEG Long Island will work with local experts and DEC to carefully remove the eggs after it is clear that the osprey will not be returning to the nest for this season.

Will the female osprey return next year?
We don’t know – the female may find a new mate and return or a different pair may inhabit the nest next spring.

How is a nest cam like this helpful to conservation and education efforts?
The camera will help viewers understand all the complexities of nest building, breeding, and raising young ospreys. These raptors will need to cooperate to hatch their young, feed them as they grow, and protect them from the elements until they leave the nest. This is an opportunity for the whole world to witness the majesty and fragility of nature.

Does the camera bother the ospreys in their nest at night?
The Osprey Cam uses infrared technology to provide "night vision," so there is no light shining on the ospreys in the evening—it just looks that way.

What about other issues the birds may face due to weather, predation, or other impacts?
While we take conservation actions when human-based causes interfere with the ospreys’ lifecycle, environmental stewardship does not mean intervening against natural challenges. Please note that there may be occasions where having a window into wild animals’ lives could be considered by some to be disturbing. Sometimes osprey chicks don’t survive their first year. Threats include starvation; predators like eagles, hawks, raccoons, crows and cats; and even conflicts inside the nest. Our cameras will capture these challenges as well as all of the beauty and joy nature has to offer.

If there is a problem with the camera or video streaming service, can PSEG Long Island make repairs?
Any issues will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Active osprey nests are protected by federal statutes from any interference. A nest becomes active when the first egg is laid and remains active until fledged young are no longer dependent on the nest. Nests that are empty, contain nonviable eggs, or are being built but do not yet have an egg in them are considered inactive. If the nest is inactive, there may be an opportunity to make necessary repairs or clear debris from the camera. During this work, the live feed or effectiveness of the viewing experience may be impacted for a period of time.

Does PSEG Long Island work with the state Department of Environment Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and municipal governments?
When evaluating a potential osprey nest location, PSEG Long Island coordinates with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and, as needed, with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and other municipal government partners to evaluate nest activity and develop the appropriate plan of action.

What is the Osprey Task Force?
Starting in 2019, PSEG Long Island and The Group for the East End enlisted the support of local environmental groups and other stakeholders to assist the company in implementing a strategy that would protect both the electrical infrastructure and wildlife such as the osprey. To act on this strategy, PSEG Long Island created an internal team and a specialized process to identify and evaluate osprey nest sites located on our infrastructure. The team, which spans multiple departments and areas of expertise, continues to make sure we act safely and responsibly to keep our feathered neighbors flying — and the electricity flowing. Here are what some of our partners are saying. 

“When you get that kind of community involvement like with PSEG Long Island everything works out better” – Jim Jones, Bayville Environmental Committee
“I think the partnership we formed is a really good one” Aaron Virgin, Vice President, Group for the East End
“Very appreciative of your efforts in preserving wildlife; being an advocate for the natural wonders across Long Island” Bob Denatale, Mayor of Bayville

How can I help?
Help us to identify new locations or nests that may need attention. If you see an osprey attempting to build on our electrical structures and wires, please let us know. Our reps are available through email, live chat, Facebook and Twitter. Our crews will inspect the site and work with our experts and partners to come up with the best solution for the osprey while maintaining your best-in-class electric reliability. For immediate emergencies, such as a nest on fire, please call 911 first before calling our emergency line at 1-800-490-0075.