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Osprey Tragedy As Wild Weather Claims Three Chicks

The leaning osprey nest’s pole, as photographed a week ago on the banks at the mouth of the Cudgen Creek // Photo Luke Sorensen
Kingscliff’s beloved family of eastern ospreys have suffered a devastating loss as wild weather lashed the northern NSW coast early on Thursday morning.

A damaged and leaning nest tower has been blamed for the accident which saw the nest plunge to the ground.

The artificial nesting platform, adjacent the VMR tower on Cudgen Creek, buckled under strong winds which sent the platform and nest to the ground, with three chicks reportedly contained inside.

It has been reported that none of the new chicks survived the fall.

According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, National Parks and Wildlife Service officers and members of the community had alerted the local council after spotting a ‘noticable lean’ on the support structure below the nest over the last few months, but that because eggs were already in the nest, little could be done.

One of the parent birds circling the nest at Kingscliff in late July 2016 // Photo Luke Sorensen

“We were unable to repair the structure until the chicks had left the nest as they would have been put in danger by any works,” the council’s senior program leader — Waterways, Tom Alletson, told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“Unfortunately, this morning’s strong winds proved too much for the metal cradle holding the nest and it fell,” he said.

Faye Hill, co-ordinator of the Tweed Osprey Monitoring Group, told the Bulletin it was an ‘absolute tragedy’.

“We had been alerted but were unable to do anything more to protect the chicks,” she said.

An eastern osprey takes a bath in the Cudgen Creek at Kingscliff. These birds are a beloved feature of the town and the death of three chicks is sad news for all // Photo Luke Sorensen

Artificial nest structures have been put in place across Northern NSW and South East Queensland to provide the birds with safe nesting places due to the intense loss of natural habitat and the dangerous potential for ospreys to actually choose power poles as nesting sites in the past.

Hopefully a new and stronger nest structure can be built to replace the fallen one soon however that is of little comfort to the Kingscliff community at the present time and of course to the parent birds of these deceased chicks.

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