SEATTLE The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration usually is in the business of defending sea creatures. But now, it's asking for advice on how to get rid of some.

A pair of federally protected osprey are building a nest on the upper structure of a NOAA ship docked at NOAA's Sand Point facility on Lake Washington. This creates a problem because the ship is scheduled to set out in a few weeks.

NOAA officials asked the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife for advice and were told they could hire an expert to move the nest, but they didn't have much time.

Washington state law allows for the destruction or relocation of osprey nests under certain circumstances, as long as there are no eggs in the nest. Experts say the NOAA nest is empty for now, but it will have to be moved before eggs are laid.

A contractor has been hired to oversee installation of a man-made osprey platform near the current nest. The work is scheduled for next week and, for now, NOAA ship managers are keeping their fingers crossed the busy osprey don't produce eggs between now and then.

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