Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two of three osprey eggs taken from nest atop Tampa crane never hatch

TAMPA — Too many days passed in silence.

One of the osprey eggs taken from a nest atop a crane at the Port of Tampa hatched last week, and the other two should have followed soon after. Audubon Center staffers were listening for the sound of a chick trying to fight its way free by tapping on the inside of its shell.

But there wasn't any noise coming from the two eggs in the center's incubator.

Finally, a veterinary technician broke both of them open Sunday and looked inside. One egg didn't contain an embryo and was never viable. But the other contained a fully developed chick that was ready to hatch.

Only it never did.

The chick may have lived if the nest had been left alone, said Lynda White, Eagle Watch coordinator at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland. But maybe not.

There is no way to know for sure what effect the 90-mile trip to Maitland had on the egg, she said.

"The fact that we did have one survive the transit would suggest that the other one might have survived, too," White said. "But maybe something else went wrong."

Jani Salonen, the marine contractor who owns the crane, said he was saddened to hear that only one of the three eggs survived after he made the decision to move the nest last week.

Salonen's crew discovered the nest when it arrived at the port in early April to pick up the crane, delivered on a barge in February. He asked for permission to remove the federally protected nest, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to grant his request.

Salonen had several jobs lined up, including one at MacDill Air Force Base, but all of them required the use of the crane. He estimated that the weeklong delay cost him $38,000, including paying 12 idle workers and renting a barge he couldn't move.

When even the governor's attempts to intervene on his behalf failed, Salonen concluded that he would rather face a fine and possible jail time than allow the nest to continue to hinder his business.

He and several Audubon Society volunteers initially planned to relocate it to a nearby platform. They assumed there were live chicks inside, and the three eggs surprised them all.

Once the eggs were outside the nest, White said, they could not be put back.

"They would have had to wait for the adults to come back to get back on them to start warming them, and that would have taken too much time," she said. "They would have gotten chilled and all of them would have died."

Instead, the nest was taken down and destroyed. The eggs began their journey to Maitland.

During the trip, Audubon Society volunteers used disposable heating pads to keep the eggs warm.

While en route, the familiar tapping noise of a chick emerging from its shell began. The volunteers took it as a sign they made the right decision.

The chick that hatched is doing well at the center and expected to thrive. In about a week, it will be placed in a foster osprey nest back in Tampa Bay to be raised until it is ready to fly.

Even in the wild, some eggs just don't hatch, White said. Maybe the chick in this case had a genetic defect or simply couldn't muster the strength to break through the tough shell.

Salonen said he still believes taking down the nest was the best thing to do, but he admits he now has a soft spot in his heart for the ospreys.

"You always wonder if they would have been in the wild, would any of them have survived," he said. "Would it have been better or would it have been worse?"

Tia Mitchell can be reached at tmitchell@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3405.

Two of three osprey eggs taken from nest atop Tampa crane never hatch 04/18/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Muggy, warm conditions across Tampa Bay as afternoon storms stay mostly east of I-75

    Weather

    A muggy and slightly wet day is in on tap for Tampa Bay as most of the rain sticks east of Interstate 75 in the afternoon.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  2. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  3. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]
  4. Future, Ruff Ryders reunion tour coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

    Blogs

    Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre is in the midst of a killer summer of rock (Green Day, Muse, Linkin Park) and country (Sam Hunt, Lady Antebelleum, Dierks Bentley).

    Future
  5. Rubio remains noncommital on Obamacare replacement but a likely yes vote

    Blogs

    Sen. Marco Rubio has been bombarded with phone calls, emails and on Monday, protests took place outside his offices in Doral and Palm Beach Gardens. But while the effort is most unlikely to dissuade the Florida Republican from voting for the Obamacare replacement -- if it even comes up for a vote this week -- he remains …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at an event in Miami, Friday, June 16, 2017, where President Donald Trump announced a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of U.S. cash to the country's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations.