Seen here nesting on a utility pole in Aroostook County in 2017, ospreys were blamed Friday for a power outage in Somerset County. Credit: contributed photo | Houlton Pioneer Times

About 10,000 Central Maine Power customers lost power for two hours on Friday because an osprey dropped a stick on a power line, a company spokeswoman said.

Electrical service to the 10,091 customers in 15 Somerset County towns was interrupted when a transmission line leading into a Detroit substation was knocked out at about 10 a.m., spokeswoman Catharine Hartnett said.

A tweet from Central Maine Power announcing the fouled line drew an immediate response from one tweeter who put a gif of a large tree being felled and wrote, “A stick took out the power! How big was the stick?”

Osprey-damaged power lines are a common occurrence, Hartnett said. Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the purposeful taking of migratory birds, nests, and eggs, the osprey is a large fish-hunting bird, growing as tall as 23 inches with a wingspan of 72 inches, that is sometimes mistaken for the slightly larger bald eagle. Ospreys have large talons and sharp beaks. They are known for nesting in marshy seashore or inland river and lake areas, and often attracted to the tall towers that support power lines, Hartnett said.

“Sometimes we can build adjacent nesting towers for them to attract them away from the power line,” Hartnett said. “It is a matter of routine for us. If there is an outage, we go and inspect it and then repair it. Whether it is an osprey or a storm it is something we pay close attention to.”

Power was restored at about noon.