LONG ISLAND - It might be cramped, but it's a piece of real estate with a priceless view in Huntington Harbor.
Forty feet above the ground, three osprey hatchlings have just started to lift their heads, nestled in a nest perched on a platform drilled into granite rock off the front of the Huntington Lighthouse.
Pam Setchell, the proud president of the Lighthouse Preservation Society, suspects mom and dad could be related to offspring from a nest several hundred yards south.
The hatchlings are the first to be born on the platform.
"First we saw two, then the following day we came back and there was a third," Setchell said. "We were floored but didn’t want to scream too loud because we didn’t want mom to get out of the nest."
The birds started building a nest on the pier two years ago, but it was in the way of volunteers. The DEC helped move it within the line of sight from its original location.
"We were able to relocate the nest and a couple of eggs and the birds started coming back on their own," said Chip Hamilton who is a Wildlife Biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
While the female osprey sticks to chores and the male takes care of meals, volunteers who are still giving tours this summer, are doing their part to respect the more than century-old lighthouse’s newest residents.
"No ringing of the fog bell and everyone has to keep it to a low roar," Setchell said.
The chicks will learn life skills like fishing and flying this summer before they head south in time for the Huntington Lighthouse’s annual Labor Day music festival.