Norma Bartol: Ospreys make a comeback in Greenwich — with a little help

March 1, 2018 GMT

A new report from Connecticut Audubon, which cataloged virtually event osprey nesting site in the state, shows that the population of the fish-hunting birds is on the rise. In just three years the number of nests went from 210 to 394.

But the news was not good in the 1970s, which was a dreadful time for birds and beasts. Back then, there was just one osprey nest out on Fishers Island.

This bothered many folks and caused concern to the museum. Therefore, those interested in such matters got to work. A first nest was built close to the water not far from the dock with the hope that a bird pair would find it to their liking. Fortunately, they did.

We all breathed a sigh of relief when we glimpsed the tiny heads appearing above the sides of the nest. The nest was a large one — and it was beautifully built.

As the summers went by, more and more nests were built by well-meaning souls and also by the birds themselves. Ospreys are beautiful birds, and as far as I can tell good parents. Above all, I enjoy the first sight of the next generation of young birds.

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During an excursion in Florida, it turned out that the best place to view the new generation of birds was from our boat. So all our friends came aboard and took advantage of the boat deck to get a good view of the goings on.

Upon our return to the island, it was evident that our birds had also made a return. I am thrilled that now the island has a good supply of nests all over. But I have to be careful when driving: Whenever I spot a new nest, usually with the parents supplying lunch, I must be careful not to take my eyes off the road. Ospreys are a sight to see, especially when they are returning with food for their young. They are amazing birds.

In other news, I spent a time on the Conservation Commission, and I was extremely impressed with its director, Denise Savageau, who has just retired after two decades on the job. She managed to give the rest of us the latest on conservation. When she talked of deer overpopulation, it made sense, although typically for Greenwich even the deer caused problems, which were wonderfully taken care of by Denise.

She became well-known for the work she did on the deer overpopulation, which made me sit up and pay attention as so many friends of mine were against having anything done in that department. Many on the Greenwich Riding and Trails Association were taking a good look at the situation, too.

As for me, the culling of the deer herd was a good solution, thanks to the thinking of our conservation director. Denise Savageau, you will be sorely missed, and thank you for your exemplary work over the years.

Greenwich native Norma Bartol, a former Greenwich Time reporter and columnist, lives in the backcountry.