Overcast79° WeatherOvercast79° Weather

Wildlife officials examining osprey nest that burned at Derby Lane

An osprey pair perches Thursday atop the light pole at Derby Lane Greyhound Track where an osprey nest was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. Officials think heat from the lights set the nest afire. Wildlife officials found no violations at the track.

LARA CERRI | Times

An osprey pair perches Thursday atop the light pole at Derby Lane Greyhound Track where an osprey nest was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. Officials think heat from the lights set the nest afire. Wildlife officials found no violations at the track.

ST. PETERSBURG — Wildlife officials on Thursday examined several osprey nests at the Derby Lane Greyhound Track, where a nest was destroyed in a fire Wednesday evening.

Investigators said it doesn't appear that the race track has violated any state or federal laws protecting the birds, but they will continue to interview staff and determine if any of the other nests are at risk, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Baryl Martin.

At least two investigators visited the track at 10490 Gandy Blvd N on Thursday. Officials also contacted a biologist "regarding any biological impact or significance this may have," Martin said.

Vera Rasnake, a Derby Lane spokeswoman, said the track will cooperate with the wildlife commission.

"We'll do anything and work with them to see what has to be done," she said.

The nest, perched atop a 40-foot light pole in the race track's parking lot, was engulfed in flames Wednesday night. Three eggs fell and broke. Heat from a set of lights on the pole is believed to have caused the blaze, officials with St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue said.

But more than half a dozen nests remain throughout the track, some on other light poles.

The Clearwater Audubon Society contacted a wildlife biologist with the commission to report the incident.

"We should do something about it because we don't want it to happen again," said Barbara Walker, board member of the society. "I'm concerned."

Removing the other nests could be tricky.

Ospreys are protected by state law and the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The law restricts people from interfering with the birds or their nests.

People with nest removal permits may be able to relocate the birds, but Walker said ospreys often return chosen locations.

A platform hoisted above the lights could be a solution, Walker said, but the height of the poles would make that difficult.

"It's definitely going to take multiple people looking at it," she said. "It's not going to be easy."

As the fire burned Wednesday night, an osprey, presumably the nest's habitant, flew around the blaze. On Thursday, two ospreys perched on the light pole where the nest burned, but it was unclear if they had lived in the nest.

Times Staff Writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report.

Wildlife officials examining osprey nest that burned at Derby Lane 02/07/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 11:09pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...