A camera feed overlooking an osprey nest in Lamoine has gone live online for public viewing. The feed was set up by the environmental team at Versant Power, the same team that designed and built the elevated platform on which the raptors are nesting.

Ospreys are raptors — birds of prey — and like to build their nests high up over water. Their primary diet is fish which they catch from the water by swooping down and using their talons to grab and carry fish back to their nests.

Among their favorite nesting sites are on top of utility poles, which can be a problem. Last summer an osprey nest built on a utility pole in Lamoine caught fire close to Versant equipment. Last May an osprey nesting on a Central Maine Power utility pole dropped a stick on the line, causing 10,000 Somerset County residents to lose power for two hours.

Officials at Versant decided the best way to prevent any future safety risks to the birds and to the public was providing alternative Osprey nesting sites, according to Marissa Minor, Versant Power communications specialist. The newest is the elevated Lamoine platform with the webcam.

It’s near the pole where the nest-related fire occurred last year and Minor said osprey, who use the same nest from year to year, have returned and taken up residence on the Versant platform.

“We pride ourselves on being environmentally aware and want to do the best for our community,” Minor said. “We knew the folks in Lamoine were worried about the osprey and we wanted to do good by our customers.”

Minor said installing the camera and providing the public around the clock video feed of the osprey will allow residents or anyone from anywhere to keep tabs on the Lamoine birds. To date, the site has been viewed more than 172,000 times since going live last Thursday. Among those viewers is Minor.

“When I have a moment I check on ‘my’ birds,” Minor said. “It’s exciting because there may be eggs under them because ospreys lay their eggs in May and these osprey are spending a lot of time just sitting in the middle of their nest.”

Osprey are a federally protected species and Minor said it is important humans not interfere with them in any way.

“But we would love for the public to view them on the live feed and learn about their behavior,” Minor said. “I’m a communications person, and our environmental team is teaching me a lot about them.”

The osprey video feed is also live on the town of Lamoine’s website at lamoine-me.gov.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.