Work is underway to repair Kingscliff’s prominent osprey nest next to Cudgen Creek, which was damaged by wild weather last week – the second time in just three months.
The metal pole supporting the cradle is bent and the council is concerned that the nest will fall again, as it did in early August, an accident which sadly claimed the lives of three Eastern Osprey chicks.
When work began on Friday, an osprey chick was found in the nest. A Seabird Rescue volunteer cared for the chick while necessary repairs were made and the chick was successfully returned to the nest.
Tweed council’s waterways program leader, Tom Alletson, said the area beneath and surrounding the ospey nest has now been closed to the public.
‘Once this chick has left the nest, council will replace the entire structure, supplying a new 19-metre timber pole to support the nest cradle. This taller pole will eliminate the need for the existing metal section beneath the nest cradle, which is a weak point in the system,’ Mr Alletson said.
He added that the metal tubing beneath the nest cradle was added after its initial installation some years ago to increase the height of the nest.
‘When it was originally installed, the nest cradle sat immediately on top of the existing 14-metre timber pole. Osprey did not occupy the nest cradle at first, preferring to build a nest in the adjacent radio masts.
But Mr Alletson said that when the total height of the nest cradle was increased to 19 metres, the birds moved in.
‘The resident osprey are still currently utilising the nest as part of their home range, perching on the pole to feed on fish. As we’ve discovered this morning, there is breeding activity occurring. Council will make temporary repairs to the nest to reduce the risk it poses to the public while preparations are made to replace the timber pole,’ he said.
The existing 14-metre timber telegraph pole will be re-erected at another site in Kingscliff with the aim of providing an additional nesting opportunity for the local Osprey population.