MSU student, TVA biologist band osprey chicks in Guntersville

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – A Mississippi State University PhD student, along with the Tennessee Valley Authority and  Guntersville and Arab power companies were in Guntersville Monday working to learn more about the behavior of osprey.

The groups took three osprey chicks from their nest on a nest platform near Highway 69.

“In 2019, we actually had a fire on one of our poles across the street. And we were able to help TVA and Mississippi State relocate this nest to this location to help the birds to where we can keep the birds and keep everything it all intact as it was,” said Arab Power general manager Stacey White.

The nest was moved around 1,000-feet away from the original location of the fire.

The mother osprey flew around the nest and called out to the chicks.

The student, Natasha Murphy, and her assistants weighed and measured the birds to try to calculate their age, which is around five weeks old.

They also took blood samples to see how the osprey in Guntersville are related to each other and to also test for heavy metals and lead.

The main goal of banding is to see how the birds use human infrastructure.

“Sometimes they can become a little bit of a nuisance, they can actually cause risks as well. Their nest materials can catch on fire when it’s on live structures so we really want to understand how the birds are using them and why they’re use them to help us mitigate any problems that occur so that we can keep our lights on, we can keep our power on, and the birds can also have a happy healthy life, not having nests in dangerous locations,” explained Murphy.

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