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1 December 2014 Human–Osprey Conflicts: Industry, Utilities, Communication, and Transportation
Brian E. Washburn
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Abstract

Although often perceived as a species of remote settings, Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) are highly adaptable and currently are abundant in many urban and suburban landscapes. Living in close proximity to humans, Ospreys often come into conflict with people and several important issues require the attention of and management by natural resource professionals. These include effects on: (1) industry (e.g., foraging at aquaculture facilities), (2) utilities (e.g., nesting on electric utility power poles and transmission towers), (3) communication networks (e.g., nesting on cellular towers), and (4) transportation systems (e.g., risks posed to human health and safety due to Osprey–aircraft collisions). Due to the Osprey's migratory and wintering habits, conflicts between Ospreys and humans are generally seasonal in nature (i.e., during the nesting season); Florida is an important exception. Creative mitigation measures (many currently being developed and evaluated) that combine effective management and monitoring will provide a better understanding of human–Osprey conflicts and ensure our successful coexistence with Osprey populations in the future.

Aunque a menudo es percibida como una especie de sitios remotos, Pandion haliaetus es una especie altamente adaptable y en la actualidad es abundante en muchos paisajes urbanos y sub-urbanos. Al vivir en cercanía de los humanos, a menudo P. haliaetus entra en conflicto con la gente y varios problemas importantes requieren de la atención y el manejo de profesionales de los recursos naturales. Estos problemas incluyen efectos en: (1) industria (e.g., forrajeo en instalaciones de acuacultura), (2) servicios públicos (e.g., nidificación en postes de electricidad y torres de transmisión), (3) redes de comunicación (e.g., nidificación en torres de telefonía celular) y (4) sistemas transporte (e.g., riesgos para la salud y seguridad humanas debido a colisiones entre individuos de P. haliaetus y aeronaves). Debido a los hábitos migratorios y de invernada de P. haliaetus, los conflictos entre esta especie y los humanos son generalmente estacionales (i.e., durante la temporada de nidificación); Florida es una excepción importante. Medidas creativas de mitigación (muchas de ellas están siendo desarrolladas y evaluadas) que combinen un manejo eficiente y el monitoreo proporcionarán un mejor entendimiento de los conflictos entre P. haliaetus y humanos y asegurará una coexistencia exitosa con poblaciones de esta especie en el futuro.

The recovery of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) populations in the United States of America (U.S.A.) represents a true conservation success story. Substantial Osprey population increases and range expansion have occurred as a result of banning the use of dichloro-diphenyl-tricholorethane (DDT) and other organochlorine (OC) insecticides, intensive research and conservation efforts, and recovery activities (e.g., hacking and translocation programs), all of which have been well documented (e.g., Poole et al. 2002, Henny et al. 2010). The U.S. Geological Survey Breeding Bird Survey shows that Osprey populations within the U.S.A. have increased an average of 2.9% each year from 1966 to 2010, with an average annual increase of 5.1% during 2000–2010 (Sauer et al. 2011).

Although often perceived as a species of remote settings, Ospreys are highly adaptable and have become increasingly abundant in many urban and suburban landscapes (Poole 1989, Poole et al. 2002). More frequent interactions with humans also means greater opportunity for conflict to arise, with one example of such conflict being the use of nontraditional substrates for nesting. As reviewed by Henny et al. (2010), the first reported Osprey nest on a human-made structure (i.e., the roof of a house) was documented in 1835 by John James Audubon in Florida. Ospreys can shift their nesting habits from using predominantly natural structures (e.g., live trees, snags) to extensive use of artificial platforms (e.g., artificial nest supports intended to benefit Osprey). Along with the use of nesting platforms intended for Ospreys, there has also been increased use of nests in problematic locations, such as electric utility, communication, and transportation structures (e.g., electric utility poles, cellular towers, and aids to navigation; Fig. 1). This trend began in the eastern U.S.A. prior to the 1970s (Bent 1937, Henny et al. 1974, Blue 1996, Ewins 1996) and during the 1980s and 1990s in the western U.S.A. (Henny and Kaiser 1996, Haughton and Rymon 1997, Henny et al. 2010). Currently, field surveys show that more than 85% of Ospreys nesting in various regions of the U.S.A. (e.g., Chesapeake Bay, New Jersey, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon) use human-made structures (Watts and Paxton 2007, Waterbury 2009, Clark and Wurst 2010, Eckstein et al. 2010, Henny et al. 2010, IDNR 2010, Heyden 2011). The Osprey's ability to exploit, and possible preference for, human-made structures for nest locations has also resulted in human–Osprey conflicts outside of North America (e.g., in E