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A shocking turn of events claimed the life of a red-tailed hawk, left an osprey couple homeless and caused a power outage at the Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center.
The real-life drama played out atop a utility pole on Pleasant Hill Road.
Thanks to a cooperative electrical co-op and a determined osprey pair, all might be restored. Except for the life of the ill-fated hawk.
The drama began to unfold the second week of May along Pleasant Hill Road west of McCurdy Road. What looked to be a promising future for a breeding pair of osprey went haywire.
On Thursday, May 11, the nest had been reduced to a few sticks lodged in a crossbar atop the utility pole.
The stunned osprey pair perched in a tree at the back of a farm field between the pole and Pleasant Hill Lake.
According to Gary Glover of the Energy Cooperative, evidence suggested that a red-tailed hawk might have attacked the nesting osprey and was electrocuted. A crew, dispatched to pinpoint and repair the source of a power outage at the lodge, found the hawk's remains at the base of the pole.
Glover, vice president and chief operating officer of the co-op's Electric Operations Office, said the crew installed a guard atop the pole, which was designed to prevent raptors or nesting material from coming into contact with the wires. This would allow the osprey to rebuild their nest.
"Just in the past 10 years, we've put several up in the Loudonville area," Glover said.
It worked like a charm. At first. The osprey pair wasted no time rebuilding their nest. Except for an occasional fish break.
Then the story took another turn. Nesting material had dangled onto the wires.
On May 18, an Energy Cooperative crew removed the nest and put a temporary barrier above it to prevent rebuilding. Contacted on Friday, May 19, Glover said the co-op planned to erect a new pole and nesting platform early the following week. This one should allow the osprey to rebuild again without the danger of being electrocuted.
A crew put up the pole Tuesday morning.
But will they have time to produce a clutch of eggs and raise the hatchlings?
According to area birding expert Gary Cowell, it's not unusual for osprey to rebuild relatively late in the breeding season.
Cowell, vice president of the Greater Mohican Audubon Society, speculated that the breeding pair could be offspring of osprey nesting on two platforms on Pleasant Hill Lake.
As of the second week of May, osprey on the Pleasant Hill Lake nests appeared to be sitting on eggs.
Another power provider, Firelands Electric Co-Op Inc., donated utility poles for those platforms nearly two decades ago.
The poles were placed in the water near the edge of the lake during winter draw-down and have produced many broods of osprey.
However, Cowell pointed out that the platforms have seen better days. One pole, near Covert Road, leans precariously.
The ospreys could use a helping hand, someone willing to step up and replace the aging platforms next winter.