Central Coast Council builds nesting platform for threatened eastern osprey at Gosford stadium

THREATENED SPECIES: An eastern osprey nesting in a light tower in Lake Macquarie in 2011. Eastern ospreys have also taken to nesting in a light tower at Central Coast Stadium, but the council has built a solution. Picture: Ben Harrison
THREATENED SPECIES: An eastern osprey nesting in a light tower in Lake Macquarie in 2011. Eastern ospreys have also taken to nesting in a light tower at Central Coast Stadium, but the council has built a solution. Picture: Ben Harrison

CENTRAL Coast Council has shifted the nest of a threatened eastern osprey from a light tower at Central Coast Stadium to a purpose-built platform a few metres away.

Council said the nest upgrade - to "VIP status" - had been made just in time for the breeding season.

Stadium manager Kath Casey said the nest relocation was necessary for the comfort and safety of both the birds and stadium goers in Gosford.

"Unfortunately, since the birds first moved in and started nesting on the light tower in 2014, they have been creating many challenges, as well as some real safety issues," Mrs Casey said.

"With the nest sitting so close to the lights, maintenance of the tower was becoming difficult and we've also had to close the seats in the bay below as sticks and debris continually fall from the nest."

Mayor Jane Smith said council had considered a number of options for the nest.

"Council has been working closely with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage since 2015 to find the best possible option to manage this crucial threatened species," Cr Smith said.

"Originally it was decided to leave the nest where it was, but the increasing scale and safety issues meant a long-term solution was needed."

A nest basket, designed by a structural engineer experienced in osprey platforms, was constructed by council and installed on the side of the tower.

Central Coast Stadium, in Gosford. Picture: Jay Cronan.

Central Coast Stadium, in Gosford. Picture: Jay Cronan.

With water views still in sight, the osprey's new home was chosen to prevent debris falling into the seating bay below.

Cr Smith said research showed that the closer the new nest was to the original site, the better chance of a successful relocation.

"Council is pleased that we can provide habitat for this threatened species who can enjoy watching sporting matches, concerts and other events along with the community," she said.

Council obtained a licence from the Office of Environment and Heritage to relocate the nest, with conditions to ensure the welfare of the birds during the move.

This project follows the successful relocation of an osprey nest at council's Erina depot in 2012, which has seen several breeding seasons since the nest was moved from the maintenance platform of a communications tower to a purpose-built nest basket above.

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