An osprey nest similar to this one in Inuvik knocked out electricity to about 9,000 NB Power customers in the Oromocto area on Monday. ((Submitted by Ian Ellsworth))

An osprey nest built on a transmission line along the Oromocto River is being blamed for leaving about 9,000 NB Power customers without electricity for several hours on Monday.

People in Rusagonis, Fredericton Junction, Oromocto, Burton and Gagetown were affected by the outage.

NB Power has a program to build platforms to encourage the birds to build safely away from the lines, but it doesn't always work, says Charles Hickman, director of environment and emergency planning for the utility.

"The nests they build are big. They tend to use sticks that are about four, five, six feet long," said Hickman.

"They effectively hover over where they want to build their nest, then they drop the twig or the branch and start building the nest just by dropping twigs and branches on their preferred location. If they're good shots, they'll land on one of our nesting platforms we've put up for them," he said.

"Sometimes they choose to build their nest in another location and they'll actually drop those twigs and branches right across our lines."

NB Power works with biologists under provincial and federal regulations to deal with migratory birds in such cases.

An NB Power crew plans to try to move the nest from near the power line to a new platform, said Hickman.

The hope is the osprey will take up residence there, he said.