A pair of osprey are getting a new home in Big Rapids Township. This weekend, Consumers Energy donated
a 65 foot pole and crew time to move an osprey nest from its original location on M20 and 180th Avenue to a new location about 100 feet away.
“Right now the nest is perched on top of a pole with a voltage of 4,800 volts so, that's a little precarious,” says Senior Public Information Director Roger Morgenstern.
Consumers is working with Boy Scout Pack 3600 out of Breckenridge who designed and built the osprey nesting box that sits atop the new pole. The scouts earn a merit badge for the project and learn about the osprey while helping the environment.
“The osprey like the crossarms of power poles, so it's a common place for them to nest,” says Morgenstern.
The scouts are building more nesting boxes to move osprey's off power poles in other locations across Michigan. Morgenstern notes it took crews about three hours to complete the job, which was their first in the state.
“They're going to take some of the nesting material and put it on the new platform with the hopes that when the osprey come back, in probably about a month – they usually come back in early April, that they'll transfer to their new home and nest and like their new surroundings which will be safer for the osprey.”
It took the crews a little over three hours to complete the job, partly because the nest was frozen to the pole with about a yard’s worth of frozen dirt in the nest, along with sticks and trash, from bungee cords to plastic bags and duct tape. Morgenstern adds the project is part of Consumers' philosophy of “leaving it better than we found it.”
“We're creating a better habitat for the osprey while at the same time, on our day job running the utility, we're improving the voltage and the reliability of the power here east of the city of Big Rapids.”
He says the $550,000 project will increase the voltage on about two miles of electric line from 4,000 volts to 7,200 volts to meet the growing energy needs of the Big Rapids area.