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City turning down heat on ospreys

After getting guidance from experts, it decides to disconnect certain bulbs near the birds' nest, which rests on a sports field light.

February 28, 2014|By Emily Foxhall

Two Newport Beach newcomers are being guaranteed the high quality of life for which the city is known.

They already had a great view, and now city officials are making sure the temperature is just right — nothing's too good for these coastal birds.

City staff plans to disconnect the lightbulbs on a sports field light at Bonita Creek Park where an osprey nest was built earlier this month. This is being done "out of an abundance of caution," Laura Detweiler, recreation and senior services director for the city, wrote in an email.

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All of the lightbulbs will be off through the weekend, and the work on disabling certain fixtures that touch the nest will be completed Monday, she said.

"I'm just happy they made that decision, and I hope they can successfully nest there," said resident Leslie Garcia, who has been worried about the the pair of birds ever since she first spotted them.

Although she doesn't consider herself an avian enthusiast — she was simply taking her dog for a walk through the park when she first glimpsed the ospreys — Garcia felt the lights' high wattage could prove too hot for the birds or, worse, cause their nest to catch on fire.

Staff had decided it was best not to act until getting guidance from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, noting that birds choose their nesting locations for a reason and the city didn't want to make a wrong move. The lights at the field had been on when games were played at nighttime for several weeks already.

An osprey nest similarly constructed on a sports field light in San Diego had not been damaged by the bulbs, noted DeeDee Gollwitzer, who has been photographing osprey in Newport Beach for several years.

"The city protects the natural wonders that contribute greatly to Newport Beach's special and admired character," Councilwoman Leslie Daigle wrote in an email.

Osprey nests are protected under state and federal law.

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