No Firehouse Siren this Summer in Rehoboth Beach; Are Osprey the Reason?


Noticeably missing this summer from downtown Rehoboth Beach has been the sound of the familiar firehouse siren. In the past, it would sound for a full minute during certain hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) to alert fire company members of potential fire or rescue incidents.

Last summer, osprey built a nest on the siren which sits atop a utility pole behind the firehouse. Despite that nest, the fire company continued to use the siren in 2021.

But this summer, members of the fire company were informed that the siren would not be used because of the osprey, presumably due to guidance from the state. But a FOIA to DNREC’s fish & wildlife division turned up no correspondence between the agency and the fire company or the city regarding that osprey nest.

For much of this summer, the nest sat empty, although what appeared to be an osprey was seen on it briefly in July. Ospreys typically use their nests until they migrate in September. Here are two amazing photos taken of osprey in Rehoboth.

Photo courtesy Richard Tananis

The fire company has yet to comment on what exactly the plan is for the firehouse siren. City officials, who operate the 9-1-1 center which activates that siren, have referred questions to the fire company.

In an email from Capt. Kent Swarts, fire company spokesman, he referred this question to Chief Chuck Snyder who has not yet responded for comment.

Photo courtesy Richard Tananis

Other fire companies have had problems with osprey nests. The fire company in Spring Lake, New Jersey in 2014 received national attention after ospreys nested on the firehouse siren there.

The Indian River VFC had a similar situation with its firehouse on Oak Orchard Road, east of Millsboro. An exclusionary device has since been built on its siren to discourage the birds from nesting. Ospreys regularly return to previously existing nests each year.