Birds of prey inhabit man-made nests in Pascagoula

With the help of a friend and a power company, Dr. Bud Ehlert has built 11 nests throughout the city.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Mid-March is prime nesting season for osprey, and one man’s effort in Pascagoula is providing them with move-in ready homes.

“Several years ago, I was talking to some bird-watching people, and they were taking pictures of ospreys, and I thought about creating some osprey poles for the birds to nest in,” resident Dr. Bud Ehlert told WLOX.

With the help of a friend and a power company, he has built 11 nests throughout the city. It’s all for the high-flyers, but they’re also providing quite a show for the community.

“I’m really glad to see these birds doing so well,” Robert Skrmetta said.

Skrmetta is a drone pilot who was monitoring one of the nests located inside the Port of Pascagoula on Wednesday. Meanwhile, he also brought us a closer look inside the den.

“It was cool,” he said. “We put the drone up and immediately, the osprey showed up, probably to protect their nest. So, we made sure we kept our distance and tried not to disturb the birds while we were videoing them.”

One osprey appeared to be nursing two eggs.

City manager Michael Silverman was also part of the viewing party.

“For me, I’m an avid nature lover, and this is extremely exciting, just to see these ospreys flying around in such a beautiful part of the community,” he said. “It’s just amazing.”

The nests above also present an opportunity to learn more about the raptors: from the size of their claws to their nesting habits and more.

“Ospreys nest for life, and they come back to the same nest every year,” Ehlert said. “So, unless the tree falls over, they don’t need a new nest.”

According to Ehlert, only about 4 of the 11 nests are currently inhabited. He’s hopeful the others will soon become occupied.

“We’re in the middle of an urban area, one of the biggest ports in the south, and here we are with birds flying around: not surviving but thriving,” Skrmetta said. “They always have fish in their hands. There’s plenty of habitat for them to feed on.”

Silverman added, “It’s an extremely rare thing to see such natural beauty surrounded by such industrial beauty.”

Another osprey nest that appears to be inhabited is located at the Magnolia Birding Pier at Magnolia Street and Dupont Avenue. It’s free for anyone to check out any day of the week.

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