GIRARD – Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Crawford/Erie/Lawrence/Mercer), chairman of the Joint Legislative Conservation Committee, is once again applauding Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., and the Erie Bird Observatory for the recent installation of a 55-foot wooden pole with an osprey nesting platform at the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad’s (B&LE) “KO” junction near the village of Osgood, Mercer County.
Ospreys, which were once registered on the endangered and threatened species list in Pennsylvania, are found along large rivers and lakes and tend to build their nests on top of man-made structures such as power lines.
“Building these nesting boxes is beneficial not only to ospreys who will be protected from electrocution by power lines, but to residents in local communities who would otherwise put themselves at risk for frequent episodes of disruptive power outages,” said Wentling, who has been diligently working to remedy this issue for many years. “I am beyond thrilled that our pioneering efforts to protect this once-endangered raptor continue to be successful and that our partnership continues to expand throughout our region, western Pennsylvania, statewide, and now includes our historic KO railroad junction.”
Built in 1887, the 3.5-mile Osgood-to-Greenville section of the B&LE closely follows the Little Shenango River and the route of the former Erie Extension Canal. The B&LE formerly interchanged at Osgood with the New York Central System, later the Penn Central Railroad and finally Conrail which abandoned the line in 1988.
Locally, the B&LE connects with the Norfolk Southern Railway at Wallace Junction, near Girard, and the Shenango Yard in Greenville. On May 10, 2004, Canadian National Railway acquired the B&LE. As in the days of Andrew Carnegie and the beginnings of US Steel, iron ore and coal are still the route’s major freight commodities.
Ospreys are a month away from the onset of their breeding season and will lay their eggs between April and July. Residents in the area who see birds nesting atop power lines are encouraged to contact the Erie Bird Observatory at 814-580-8311 to report the pole number.
Representative Parke Wentling
17th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin