Minnesota and Wisconsin Osprey Relocation To Iowa Going Well
The young ospreys are developed enough to tear apart their favorite food, fish, by themselves. They will be attaining flight status about 53 days of age and allowed to fly freely from their “hack” or release site. Where the birds learn to fly and fish on their own becomes their home where survivors return to nest at four or five years of age.
Volunteers and wildlife professionals at five sites have geared up to fill the niche the osprey adults were providing their young with fish and security. In conjunction with feeding the birds, the young ospreys are monitored daily to ensure they will be flight ready.
There have been 187 ospreys released at nine sites since 1997. Ospreys have successfully nested in Iowa since 2003 with 28 young produced from 14 successful nestings. In 2008, there were nine reported nesting attempts. Five nests have produced 16 young. Active nests occur at Macbride Raptor Project (three nests) that spearheaded osprey releases in 1997, Jester Park in Polk County, Cedar Falls, Don Williams Lake in Boone County, Wickiup Hill and Duane Arnold Energy plant in Linn County, Lake Rathbun, and Sioux City.
Three osprey young were relocated from Jester Park nest before it was swamped by flood waters in June. Those young were delivered to Kay Neumann with Saving Our Avian Resources and they will be released from White Rock Conservancy site.
All Iowa Ospreys have a purple band with number and letter on right leg and silver USFWS band on left leg. The wild-produced Ospreys from Iowa have a green USFWS band.
Volunteers are welcomed to contact coordinators at each “hack” or release site to assist in these efforts to bring ospreys to Iowa. Financial support is especially appreciated at each site as no tax dollars or DNR Wildlife Diversity funds are budgeted for this project. Contacts for each respective site are: Clear Lake, 641-357-5267; Marion Co./Elk Rock State Park, 641-891-8226, White Rock Conservancy, 712-683-5555, Spirit Lake 712-330-1080, and new site this Dubuque at 563-556-6745.
For more information, contact Pat Schlarbaum at 515-432-2823 or 712-330-0526. Website connections will be up and running when birds arrive have been established at http://www.iowadnr.gov/parks/state_park_list/elk_rock.html for your viewing pleasure of the Elk Rock