What Happened to Our Habitat?

Lost and forlorn, this Osprey couple is looking in vain for the place where they used to build a nest every year.

Year after year, I’ve watched Olive and Orlando arrive from the south, build their big nest and raise a new generation of Osprey chicks.

They used to nest in a perfect habitat — the very place toward which their heads are now turned. It was located on a long, narrow strip of land jutting into Little Assawoman Bay, in Selbyville, Delaware.

Last year, an old-fashioned farm stood there, studded with big old trees in which quite a few of my seabird friends found a happy place to roost and nest. Ospreys, Herons, Egrets and Lesser Yellowlegs  all felt safe here, protected from storms and predators, and wonderfully near to favorite feeding grounds.

But today my beloved Osprey couple are staring at a bulldozed mess where their beautiful nesting places used to stand.

Their expressions say it all. I feel they must be confused and disheartened. What on earth happened to our habitat? What can we do? Where can we make our nest this year?

Eventually, in an  effort that breaks my heart, they try to place nesting twigs on the wholly inadequate platform on which they’re standing.

Eventually, a man who looks older than me walks by and introduces himself.

As we chat, I asked him why the nesting peninsula has been stripped bare.

He explains the farmer recently died and his kids have sold the land to a developer—who plans to build 36 luxury homes and a yacht marina on the site of this lost wildlife paradise.

Now I realize why I haven’t found my dear Great Blue Heron friends, Beau and Belle, this year. I can only hope that they, like this Osprey couple, will find  a suitable place to relocate.

But this habitat for so many creatures I love and used to photograph — it has vanished. And it never will return.
I have lost a place to set my tripod and big telephoto lens, waiting for my seabird buddies to drop by.

But my Osprey, Heron and Egret friends have lost everything.


    1. Thank you, Miriam! Up until now, I’ve avoided taking sides politically, thinking this wasn’t the mission of my Website. But my Osprey friends convinced me their plight can’t be ignored, and starting now, I’m going to simply show viewers what my friends are telling me.

  1. So poignant, Arthur. By the time we sold in Florida in 2022, having been there around 27 years, all the bird and fish species around us had changed completely, not to mention the temperatures. Very few humans seemed to notice. Keep up your observant reports, however sad. Thanks

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Maggie! I believe it’s true that most vacation visitors to the Jersey shore don’t really care about the seabirds who live here, and it saddens me. But I do hope I’m reaching a big enough community to make a difference in the existing zoning regulations.

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