Osprey eggs returned to nest, hopeful for hatchlings

Osprey eggs returned to nest, hopeful for hatchlings

Three eggs taken from their nest high above Highway 80 in Chatham County are now back with their parents, and bird experts and volunteers are hopeful that there will be at least one chick that hatches.

In late March, a contractor for the county maintaining a light fixture along Hwy 80 near Islands Expressway destroyed an Osprey Nest.

The crew tried to save the three eggs that were in the nest. Meanwhile, countless people cried "fowl," and in less than a week, Dr. Jerry Williams built a platform for the birds and Coastal Electric Coop helped erect a pole that platform. Read and watch here.

Ospreys are creatures of habit, and these birds have nested atop the light pole for years, so they rebuilt on the light pole. Meanwhile, their eggs have been at The Avian Conservation Center just north of Charleston. Executive Director Jim Elliot said they've been carefully tending to the eggs.

"It's a fairly intense process. We turn them, we monitor humidity and temperature," he said.

The center was also looking for a relocation nest, even considering the Landings Nest where two chicks have hatched. However, the age difference was a concern, so after learning that the osprey pair had rebuilt their nest, Elliot and Oatland Island decided to give the parents back their eggs.

"It's the best outcome we could have asked for," Elliot said.

Of the three eggs, he's sort of classified their viability with number one egg being fairly confident of hatching, number two egg marginally confident of hatching, and number three egg "not so" confident of hatching.

Two other key players in getting the eggs back to their parents were Tim's Crane who hoisted a cage with volunteers and eggs in tow up to the nest. Another was a Savannah volunteer who's transported injured birds from Oatland Island to The Avian Conservation Center before.

Elliot said Ron Suttle's journey to help the eggs was just as arduous as the initial eggs' journey; his car broke down in Mount Pleasant and he had to rent a car to get the eggs back to Savannah!

Oatland Island and The Avian Conservation Center will be monitoring the "light pole" nest very carefully for the next few weeks in hopes of hatchlings.

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