Birds finding homes in cellular phone towers

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - They're normally found high atop pine trees on barrier islands or in the forests of South Mississippi. But these days, a growing number of ospreys are building their nests atop cell phone towers.

Osprey can be seen and heard right outside the TV station. There's a nest high atop the cellular tower behind WLOX.

A bit farther east, a tower behind Wal Mart has hosted an osprey family for at least the past three years.

"Oh, I love watching them," said Jerry Langlands.

The tower is right next to his home, and he and his wife are dedicated osprey watchers.

"When you talk to them, they get used to hearing your voice. And me, I'm here every day, all the time. And I talk to 'em, and when I talk to them, they respond," he said.

The Langlands really are bird lovers.

"This is Spike. He is an 8-year-old blue and gold macaw," said Heather Lantglands with the pet bird perched on her right shoulder. "He's a baby."

She said Spike doesn't seem to mind that they pay so much attention to the osprey.

"She'll go out in the morning and bring back fish. Go back out again. This is just a constant with her, until the evening when it starts to get dusk, then she settles down for the night," she said.

The osprey atop another cell tower doesn't seem to mind our visit. But its probably used to some commotion since it's very near the busy intersection of Pass Road and Teagarden.

"The young are out fledging now. As a matter of fact, that's what we're hearing right now. Like any other bird, the young will beg. As long as they can get away with free food from mom and dad. So, they're flying off the nest, and mom and dad are trying to teach them to fish," said biologist Mark Lasalle.

Admire the birds all you want, but keep in mind they're a protected species. It's illegal to kill osprey or bother their nests.

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