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Is it illegal to tear down an osprey nest?

An osprey nest sits at the top of a tree along the bank of the Northeast Cape Fear River on land owned by Titan America LLC on May 21, 2008. Staff Photo By Matt Born/Wilmington Star-News.

Q. Is it illegal to tear down an osprey nest? Ospreys are a protected species, and a nest in a cell phone tower near the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge appears to have been torn down.

A. It depends when the nest was disturbed. Moving one during nesting season is against the law, according to multiple bird-watching websites.

In North Carolina, breeding and nesting reach their peak in March and April, but most ospreys have left the area by now, said Kemp Burdette, a member of the Cape Fear Audubon Society’s education committee.

“They’re gone now for the most part,  so I don’t know that there would be anything that would stop someone from messing with a nest on their property if there were no birds in it,” he said. “Maybe the nest was affecting reception in that tower. Most of the ospreys are gone, except for the few that stuck around all year, and they don’t really hang out on the nests anymore.”

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What happened to the hummingbirds this year? I don’t see any around my feeder.

User-contributed question by:
charlie bolles

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