Friday, August 31, 2012

Ospreys get a hand from our field crews

Ospreys, large raptors that have made a comeback from Wisconsin's endangered species list, still get an assist from our field crews to protect the birds as well as our equipment.

Because ospreys like to build nests in high structures, electric distribution structures often are attractive sites. The problem is that sticks can fall from the 200-pound nests, causing service interruptions, and the birds could be electrocuted.

Whenever ospreys start to build nests in our facilities, our field crews often construct taller alternative nesting structures for the birds nearby. Because the ospreys prefer the taller structures, they typically will build their nests on the platforms. Ospreys currently use more than 25 platforms that we erected in central and northern Wisconsin as well as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

To assist in identifying and tracking ospreys, we also assist with banding of recently hatched birds by using our equipment to access the nests. This year, we assisted Pat Fisher of The Feather Rehabilitation Center in New London, Wis., with banding at two locations.

Photographs of osprey banding at Weyauwega and New London

Ospreys – sometimes known as sea hawks, fish eagles or fish hawks – live near inland lakes and large reservoirs or river systems. With wingspans approaching 6 feet, ospreys hunt by diving to the water’s surface to pluck fish from the water with their curved talons.

They spend winters in Central and South America, returning in spring to their same nesting sites in North America where they typically lay three eggs a year. 

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