BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Large, powerful birds that look like eagles have built their nests in high voltage electric towers on Biloxi Bay.
They're actually ospreys, fish-eating hawks that can be seen near the water throughout South Mississippi.
Kerry Brann piloted the pontoon boat as we left Keesler Marina. He's the one who alerted us to the osprey nests. Minutes later, we spotted the first of six ospreys we would soon encounter.
"I've lived here on the back bay for 27 years. And suddenly I've discovered these birds. And they're just beautiful. And I read up on them. They're a very interesting bird," said Brann.
The screech of the ospreys echoed off Back Bay waters. These unique hawks seemed comfortable enough with our unexpected intrusion.
"The adaptability of these birds. They're living 15 feet beneath a high voltage line near the VA. They don't seem to mind our presence very much and they're just beautiful birds. Almost eagle-like. Some people think of them as the "sea eagle" but they're not in the eagle family," Brann said.
"I've always been a big fan of raptor like birds. And it's just amazing to see them out here, especially so close to Keesler," said Justin Delorit.
The birds' nests are especially close to the new housing Keesler is building. Their proximity is a reminder about the importance of protecting and preserving the environment during such development.
"Being able to see these osprey so close to the base, albeit a little comical that they're living so close to a construction zone, I think that kind of reconfirms and recommits Keesler's leadership to being environmentally conscious, especially in our construction process," said Delorit.
The ospreys will be keeping watch on their neighbors from atop their high voltage perches.