According to CBS, state investigators are searching for two boys and a girl who were seen sparking the hawk nest along the Nassau-Queens border by the Long Island Sound.
“There were some witnesses at Memorial Field behind here who saw the kids light it, even saw the smoke. They tried to yell to get them to stop, but they weren’t going to stop,” witness Chris DeGeorge told CBS.
The spectator believed that the teens crossed the mud flat from the Long Island region.
Neighbors said that the bird’s eggs, which were secure in the nest only days before the fire, were no longer seen after the suspects set flames to the breeding ground.
“What they did was negligent and just downright evil. The viciousness is just beyond what I can think,” DeGeorge said to a CBS reporter.
DeGeorge is collecting reward money with other contributors and has already accumulated more than $4,000 toward the teens’ arrest.
A Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman told CBS, “the DEC will fully investigate any incident that damages wildlife.”
Ospreys began building their nests five years ago on top of a concrete block at the edge of a mud flat in Udalls Cove, which connects to Little Neck Bay.
Long Island and upstate are recognized as the only two breeding grounds in New York for ospreys, also known as Pandion haliaetus, fish eagles or sea hawks.
Last year, bird lovers marveled at ospreys via webcam, who were spotted building a nest atop an old radio tower in Greenport, Long Island.
Chris DeGeorge’s father, witness Joseph DeGeorge, observed the ospreys attempting to create a new nest, but worries that it may be too late in the season for any hatchling to survive.