Workers needed to replace a light fixture at a park in Calvert County, Maryland, so first they removed the osprey nest that was atop the fixture. What officials did next has caused outrage in the community: Two young ospreys were taken from the nest and euthanized, the Washington Post reports. While the officials say all protocols and federal laws were followed and they had the necessary permits and approvals to remove the protected migratory birds, bird lovers and wildlife advocates alike wonder why a sanctuary wasn't contacted to take the birds—part of a breed that was nearly killed off due to pesticide use four decades ago. Southern Maryland News Net reports that often, officials wait until the end of nesting season to do maintenance on light or utility poles where ospreys have nested. Chesapeake Bay Magazine reports there are two licensed wildlife rehabilitators in the very city where the light pole is located, Lusby.
The light pole is "not equipped to accommodate the presence of ospreys," officials said in a statement in response to the uproar, noting that since the pole is near a ball field, "falling sticks or other nesting material" posed a danger to the public. Officials also say the birds weren't close to fledging from the nest, though birders said they appeared to be. However, the county board of commissioners also says it was "not consulted or informed as to why or how the decision was made to euthanize the juveniles in the nest rather than relocate," and that next time officials will make sure the birds are relocated instead. One federal official says sometimes a "lethal removal is done with consideration for the population of the species as a whole," while another says that occasionally permits are granted for the "capture or killing of birds to help reduce damage to agricultural crops/livestock, private property, human health and safety, and protected wildlife." (Read more Maryland stories.)