Central Maine Power and Maine Department of Transportation crews hoist a nesting pole into the median of the Route 1 highway in Bath Wednesday, April 17. The new structure aims to provide an alternative home to the highway’s ospreys, who had their nest removed by CMP after a March storm. Kristian Moravec / The Times Record

Central Maine Power raised a nesting platform off Route 1 in Bath to replace a nest the company removed from atop a utility tower before April’s snowstorm. The removal left a nesting pair of ospreys without a place to lay and care for their eggs, sparking outrage among local birdwatchers.

Crews showed up Wednesday morning and closed one of the southbound lanes near Congress Street to set up the new home for the protected raptors. Two ospreys circled above the area as CMP coordinated with local authorities to install the pole built by Somerset Career and Technical Center.

“I’m so glad this is happening for [the ospreys],” said Joanna Adams, an admirer of the ospreys who founded a Facebook group to spread the word about the nest removal. “I hope this discourages [CMP] from doing this again.”

The nest was removed sometime between the evening of April 1 and the following morning. The ospreys who built the nest returned from migration on April 2 to find the nest missing, Adams said.

The removal sparked first outrage among local bird watchers, then confusion as CMP responded last week. In a public post on Facebook, CMP stated that it removed the nest during the winter, though it later clarified with The Times Record that the nest was actually removed sometime early April.

The mixed-up timeline stemmed from the fact that this is the second time the birds had been evicted from the high-voltage utility pole that feeds power to over 5,000 people.


CMP spokesperson Jonathan Breed said the nest was deemed a potential hazard and removed once in January 2023. As a deterrent for rebuilding, CMP installed a whirlybird — a plastic structure with eyes that supposedly scares off birds. The Leeman Highway ospreys were unfazed by the contraption and rebuilt anyway.

The nest was removed for the second time this spring after CMP discovered the new nest while inspecting lines in the wake of a March snowstorm. During inspections, Breed said crews discovered new hazards from the nest, prompting the removal. Typically, Breed said, nests are removed before the birds start returning.

“We’re constantly inspecting the system,” Breed said. “We may identify new problems in the spring and summer.”

Regional biologist for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Keel Kemper assisted CMP with addressing the nest removal.

A second osprey nest was found dangerously close to live wires on a utility pole in Bath Wednesday, April 17. Kristian Moravec / The Times Record

“Nest removal is ideal when the birds are not here,” Kemper said. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen that way.”

Ultimately, Kemper said, the goal is to deter the species from nesting in high-risk areas, such as utility poles. Nest removal is a strong deterrent from dangerous nesting spots and helps relocate ospreys to spaces that are more natural for them, according to Kemper.


“We do allow them to go in and move the nests,” he said. “But once [ospreys] lay that egg, then they’re pretty well protected.”

Kemper said he was first made aware of the nest issue on April 12 after IFW received a complaint on April 10. CMP said that it was not aware of any public complaints filed.

Breed additionally said CMP does not remove utility pole nests if they do not pose a risk. However, he said that it is not uncommon for a nest that was safely existing on a powerline for years to deteriorate and become hazardous.

During construction of the new osprey home, a second osprey nest was located just under half a mile nearby. This second nest — a mass of sticks on a utility pole — was described as an “accident waiting to happen” by CMP workers on site.

The second nest, which has large branches resting on charged lines, is likely the home of a fledgling osprey from the Leeman Highway nest, Adams said.

Breed said CMP will be coordinating with Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to work on moving the second nest in the near future.

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