The Chesapeake Bay Bridge has been battling the bridge cam bird-butt blues ever since a pair of persistent ospreys decided the area directly in front of one of the cameras that monitors traffic on the busy bridge was the perfect nesting spot. This week, in the kind of sensible, win-win move that you wish happened more often, The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) installed a nesting box for the ospreys in a safer spot a few feet away from the traffic camera.
The battle begins
When the MDTA initially spotted blowing tail feathers blocking the view from the traffic came, they verified that there were no eggs and removed the nest, reports the Baltimore Sun. This is hardly the first time the MDTA has dealt with birds nesting on the bridge. Eagles, falcons and ospreys have made their homes on the structure before, sharing the nearly five mile long bridge with the millions of cars that cross it without issue.
But this is the first time birds tried to settle in front of a traffic camera. Authorities were worried about the blocked view, the agitation that the camera movement caused the birds, and the potential for part of the nest or even an osprey chick to tumble into the heavily traveled roadway directly below.
But the birds came back again. And again. Before long, the story went viral.
Persistence pays off
When signs of a fourth nesting attempt appeared in the camera, the MDTA tried a different approach. Concerned about the safety of the birds, any chicks and the drivers traveling below, the MDTA consulted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raptor specialist. Following his advice, MDTA put up a platform near the camera as a nesting box. Some of the ospreys’ nesting materials were relocated to the platform as bait.
Within hours of the nesting box’s installation, the ospreys were settling in and bringing in fresh material to feather their nest. The new nesting area is now above a shoulder, making it safer for everyone. And, the birds will still get their time in the spotlight. The traffic camera they used to be blocking will be aimed their way from noon to 12:15 pm on Mondays through Thursdays so that the public can catch a glimpse of the ospreys.
Maybe we can all get along
As things get more crowded, you hear more and more stories about people and animals brushing against each other. Bears in the backyard, alligators in the swimming pool, moose moseying along main street and deer in the road often make the news. Sharing space with wild animals can be awesome and educational — as well as inconvenient and dangerous. Anyone who has hit a deer while driving understands that.
Sometimes, there are no easy solutions when people and animals rub each other the wrong way. But, I’m hoping to see more stories like this where common sense and compassion ensure that everyone wins.
“The Chesapeake Bay Bridge – What You Need to Know” — about.com
“MdTA installs nesting platform for osprey” — WBAL
“Osprey attempts to build nest in front of traffic camera” — The Baltimore Sun
“Ospreys accept state’s relocation offer” — The Baltimore Sun