Mount Desert Island High School junior Megan Huff. ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH REIN

MDI High School junior gets osprey nest on campus relocated

Mount Desert Island High School student Megan Huff came up with the idea to relocate an osprey nest on campus to a safer location.

BAR HARBOR — When 17-year-old Megan Huff noticed an osprey nest resting on a powerline in the front parking lot at Mount Desert Island High School, she launched an initiative to relocate it to a safer place.  

Huff, who is from Bar Harbor, is also currently enrolled in the biomedical program at Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC) in Ellsworth where she is learning about what it would take to become a veterinarian. Having a love of animals, Huff has also taken an interest in wildlife conservation. 

Though it is quite common for ospreys to choose utility poles and lines for their nests, it is a dangerous location.  

“If the ospreys land on delicate electronic equipment, they could electrocute themselves or their babies. I wanted them to be safe so I thought I should try and move it,” Huff said.  

Birds nesting on power equipment can also start electrical fires and cause outages, which Huff said were additional reasons she launched an initiative to relocate the nest. 

After researching on how to transfer the nest, Huff submitted a proposal to high school Principal Matt Haney in August 2021. The proposal included dimensions for a platform to be installed in a safe location that could hold the nest. Scott Watson, the school’s maintenance director, was able to coordinate with Versant Power to remove the nest in February. Versant not only removed the nest, but they also added a bird deterrent to keep the osprey from returning to the old location.  

Huff said that osprey prefer resting in trees 20 feet or higher. She chose a tall tree just a few feet away from the former nest location to install the platform.  

“After ospreys raise their young, they usually come back to the nest because that’s what they are most familiar with,” she said.  

In early March, Savage Forest Enterprises attached the platform, which was made by Watson’s son, to the tree Huff had chosen. “They had to cut the top of the tree off so it could be a flat space for the platform to sit on. Once that was done, they installed the platform in place with metal bolts,” she said. The nest was then placed on the new platform. 

It wasn’t long after that a school staff member noticed the osprey settled into its new nest.  

In April, Watson helped Huff to coordinate the installation of a game camera on the tree to capture the goings-on of the nest, which was used as a visual aid for her school science fair entry. 

Versant Power plans to install a live web cam, which the company is providing, that will allow the community to monitor the nest. 

“All of this was a joint effort where companies and high school staff donated their time, free of charge,” said a grateful Huff.  

Huff looks forward to preserving the project for the rest of her high school career and plans to pursue a career in wildlife conservation and to write children’s books that promote wildlife conservation.  

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.

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