Severna Park High School Ospreys

The osprey nest was created after the construction of the new school building in 2017.

On+April+16+at+6%3A07+a.m.+the+Severna+Park+Osprey+Cam+was+given+a+clear+view+of+the+resident+ospreys+%E2%80%9COscar%E2%80%9D+and+%E2%80%9COlivia%E2%80%9D+and+their+three+eggs.+These+migratory+raptors+who+mate+for+life+have+returned+to+the+same+nesting+grounds+year+after+year.+They+continue+to+return+despite+the+loss+of+their+previous+nest+in+2017.

Taylor Persons

On April 16 at 6:07 a.m. the Severna Park Osprey Cam was given a clear view of the resident ospreys “Oscar” and “Olivia” and their three eggs. These migratory raptors who mate for life have returned to the same nesting grounds year after year. They continue to return despite the loss of their previous nest in 2017.

Taylor Persons, Staff Writer

BGE’s osprey nest, located at Severna Park High School (SPHS), has seen a return of osprey’s this March, originally after the old building was torn down in 2017, a standalone pole was constructed with the purpose of providing the osprey’s with a safe nesting site where they can raise their young. 

The establishment of the standalone poll and the live recording of the osprey’s wasn’t done by BGE efforts alone, it was a collaborative effort made by BGE, Comcast, HDOnTap and the Maryland Raptor Conservation Center. Each member of this team played their own part in the making of the pole and the live video feed that is streamed on a wide variety of forums. The efforts to create a safe nesting site first began with the vice president and co-founder of the Maryland Raptor Conservation Center Heather Jeweler.

“I immediately noticed the large osprey nest on a light post overlooking the athletic field at the high school and brought it to my husband’s attention,” Jeweler said. “When plans were announced about the new school being built, we kept watch but knew action would need to be taken to build a dedicated nest stand for this resident pair of ospreys.”

The first step to the Jeweler’s action plan was contacting BGE due to the fact that they were part of the demolition process of the previous athletic field and the light post which once held the nest and due to the ospreys continuous attempts to build a new nest on their construction cranes as described by the Maryland Raptor Conservation Center. After the ospreys failed attempts to nest on the cranes, they built a nest on top of a utility pole which BGE then rendered safe for the birds to raise their young. After the ospreys nested and flew back south once again, BGE returned to the school and constructed the standalone pole. 

“The platform is specifically designed for osprey, and the pole’s height appeals to osprey, who prefer to nest high above the ground,” senior communications specialist Nick Alexopulos said.

The pole allows the osprey’s to safely nest while still being comfortable with their surroundings; this pole isn’t one of a kind though, in 2016 BGE launched a Osprey Watch Program where they render utility poles with reported nests safe for the birds and their young. The osprey pole at Severna Park High School isn’t just for the ospreys pleasure, connected to the osprey nest platform is a camera which records the nest and the ospreys as they raise their young; this footage is then live streamed. This is where Comcast and HDOnTap play their part. HDOnTap donated the camera the records these birds, the battery that powers the camera, and the solar panels that supply power to the battery. 

It’s a mutually beneficial partnership, as our viewers love watching the ospreys, the community of Severna Park loves watching as well, the decision to partner was in a sense a no-brainer.”

— Kate Alexander

“It’s a mutually beneficial partnership, as our viewers love watching the ospreys, the community of Severna Park loves watching as well, the decision to partner was in a sense a no-brainer,” marketing director Kate Alexander said.

While HDOnTap supplies the camera and the equipment necessary to operate it, Comcast has an entirely different part to play.

“Comcast Business is providing the internet connection that will give thousands of wildlife enthusiasts and up-close and personal look at these amazing birds in their nest via a live video feed,” senior manager of public relations Sandra Arnette said.

This collaborative effort between BGE, HDOnTap, Comcast and the Maryland Raptor Conservation Center was a success for both the ospreys and the community.

“With the nest cam, we hope that it brings better awareness and understanding of the wildlife that surrounds us, even in the most unlikely of places and how we impact both negatively and positively,” Jeweler said. “Better understanding brings more hope for appreciation and conservation of not just ospreys, but other native wildlife here.”