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AltaLink builds a new home for our feathered friends in time for spring

AltaLink’s environment, Indigenous relations, and field teams recently worked together in collaboration with the Stoney First Nation to relocate an osprey nest sitting atop an existing AltaLink transmission structure.

“It’s very common for osprey to nest on transmission structures,” said Nikki Heck, AltaLink environmental advisor. “While we try to accommodate nests where possible, once a nest becomes unsafe, we work to relocate it to a safer location. This is all part of AltaLink’s Avian Protection Plan to reduce the impact that transmission facilities can have on birds. In this case, we constructed a new nesting platform for the osprey to use when they returned in the spring.”

A special ceremony was conducted by a Stoney First Nation elder to honour the existing nest of the osprey, to ensure that the birds will return.

Following the removal of the original nest, AltaLink’s Indigenous relations team met with the Stoney First Nation to discuss different options for the new nest.

“We looked at keeping it close to the existing location, making sure the nest remained at a high point and tried to keep it closer to the river where the osprey fish for their food,” said Todd Hurman, senior Indigenous relations advisor.

The environment team then worked to ensure that the platform was oriented in the right direction to allow for an optimal approach for take-off and landing.

“There is quite a bit of science in how we design and locate these platforms,” added Heck. “We even used sticks from the original nest and tied them down onto the platform.”

After presenting two locations, a new location was chosen, and a blessing ceremony was held.

The new artificial nesting platform was installed just west of Cochrane, and we can’t wait to welcome the osprey home when they return.