Industrial Nesting

Juvenile opsrey flying at Duquesne, PA (photo by Dana Nesiti)

This year intrepid birders reported osprey nests in some unlikely places along Pittsburgh's rivers.

Anne Marie Bosnyak monitored a nest near Neville Chemical on the Ohio River and last week Dana Nesiti followed up on a lead about a nest at the Union railyard in Duquesne.

On Thursday Dana went exploring and found the osprey nest atop an old power tower. There were three full grown youngsters in it.  Look at the cables draped beneath the sticks. Talk about industrial!

, Duquesne, August 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

Though his photos don't show it, this nest is in an ugly spot that's off-limits to all but railroad employees.  To ospreys the lack of humans is just what they had in mind.

There are other advantages, too.  Look east of Kennywood on Google Earth and you'll see the railyard is on the Monongahela River near the Braddock Locks and Dam. The dam provides a variety of fishing opportunities in a very compressed space. There are lake-like conditions upstream, very active fish feeding in the turbulence below the dam, and fish resting in the quiet pools downstream.  It's a great spot for "fish hawks."


When Dana arrived on Thursday he saw three juveniles in the nest but two of them could already fly.  They put on a show.

Osprey at Duquesne, August 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)

...and flew by their nest-bound sibling.

Osprey at nest, Aug 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)


On Friday, Dana returned to the site and was lucky to see the last of the three juveniles make his first flight.  Here he goes!


Osprey flying for the first time, 8 Aug 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)


Osprey fledging, 8 Aug 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)


Osprey fledges, 8 Aug 2014 (photo by Dana Nesiti)



The two Neville Island ospreys fledged, too.  It's been a successful year for "industrial" ospreys.


(photos by Dana Nesiti)

p.s. The Neville Island nest site is very close to the Emsworth Lock and Dam.  I see a pattern here.

8 thoughts on “Industrial Nesting

  1. Hi Kate, often fish get stunned by the turbulence of going over the dams. This gives the Osprey and Eagles easy pickings. This is especially true of hydro-electric dams like the Conowingo dam in Maryland south of Lancaster, Pa. Judi and I saw 120 Adult Bald Eagles there at one time just waiting for them to open the gates.

  2. I’ve pulled over to get a close-up look at these magnificent birds several times, roosting in large sycamore trees along Chartiers creek by…you guessed it…an industrial park! I’ve only seen these individuals in spring or fall, migration time, I presume. Besides tractor trailer traffic, the area is fairly secluded, but I don’t know if the fishing is so good.

    Will these fledglings migrate this autumn?

    1. Carolyn, yes the fledglings will migrate. Ospreys have to spend the winter where the water doesn’t freeze.

  3. I thought I spotted the Duquesne nest from the bike trail last week — glad I was right and that Dana got some wonderful photos!

    Don’t forget Aliquippa (on a high-tension electrical tower next to the river, *very* easy to spot on Google Earth!) That was originally misidentified as a bald eagle nest, but nope, it turned out to be ospreys.

    I also watched some ospreys fishing at Townsend Dam in New Brighton, but didn’t see a nest. Nova Chemical in Monaca would be close to Montgomery Dam, so I’m not surprised that they’re nesting there too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *