Students play part in protecting ospreys

​The community has joined forces to protect Bunbury’s osprey population by constructing purpose-built nests perched almost 20m off the ground on the banks of the Leschenault Inlet.

Newton Moore Senior High School’s Science Horizon students designed the bird nests and thanks to a $10,000 Habitat Grant provided by the City of Bunbury, were able to organise fabrication and installation of the structures in prominent locations.

Inspired by community members, students from the Science Horizons specialist program were involved in background research and designing nest models that culminated in the grant funding being used for construction of the nests.

The end result is two engineered nests being placed on top of 18.5m wooden poles, which were donated by Western Power and erected by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions near the mangrove boardwalk.

The strategic location was selected in an effort to keep the birds from nesting on man-made structures, such as light poles, which may lead to conflict or the destruction of nests.

City of Bunbury Environmental Officer Orla O’Donnell said osprey were a familiar sight in Bunbury as they circled local waters looking for their next feed of fish.

“Osprey will nest in any location close to water, and usually quite high up, so these specially-made nests will give them an excellent environment for many years to come,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“The school students conducted some impressive research that showed there was a decline in the osprey population due to a loss of nesting places, so these new nests will prove to be an important addition to their habitat.”

The osprey nest project would not have been possible without the support of community member John Cross and Cr Judy Jones; structural engineer Steve Woodhouse; Western Power; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; and the Newton Moore Senior High School students.

Osprey nests have also been used successfully in other areas, including the Bunbury Port.