Project Title

Assessing the Influence of Telecommunication Towers on Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) Nesting and Behaviors in Western Kentucky

Project Abstract

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nests located on telecommunication towers (TCTs) are approximately 3–8 times higher than natural or constructed nests. Consequently, nestlings reared on TCTs may be exposed to harsher weather conditions and ultimately have lower survival rates. Additionally, adults may use more energy during food provisioning because of TCT heights, which could influence foraging or nest guarding behaviors. The objective of our study is to evaluate the influence of TCTs on Osprey nest productivity, adult foraging, and nest guarding behaviors. We observed 30 Osprey nests (TCTs; [n=11], navigation daymarkers [DMs; n=10], natural substrates [NATs; n=9]) from aircraft, vehicle, or on foot. To assess differences in adult behaviors and nest success and productivity, we monitored each nest for adult foraging and nest guarding behaviors and the number of successful fledglings produced throughout the 2019 breeding season. Nests on DMs received 2 to 2.6 times more fish than nests on NATs and TCTs, respectively. Though not significant, DM nest success was 22.2% and 14.2% greater than NATs and TCTs, respectively. We hypothesize that the potential costs associated with TCT height may be counteracted by reduced human disturbances. Though DMs had high rates of human disturbance, increased provisioning of fish to offspring may offset these costs and partially explain the greater nest success we observed at nests on DMs. Consequently, there may be a trade-off between intensity of human disturbance and fish provisioning.


Conference name (full, no abbreviations): 2019 joint meeting of Wilson’s Ornithological Society and the Association of Field Ornithologists

Sponsoring body: Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson’s Ornithological Society

Conference website:

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology




Bachelor of Science

Graduation Expected





Andrea K Darracq, PhD

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Beginning date of project


End date of project


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