Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Ospreys are still in the game!

In my last post, I talked about the Bald Eagles return to nest at the Falls of the Ohio. Considering they are the first pair of Bald Eagles in recorded history to nest in the Louisville area, they are certainly the big story of this spring!
However, what you may not know, is that we also have a pair of Ospreys nesting in the same area. (Ospreys are also large raptors, but slightly smaller than an Eagle.) They are building their nest in a tower on Shippingport Island very close to the Hydroelectric plant. The Ospreys have nested in this same tower for at least 2 years. While reading through the archives on BirdKY listserve, I found out they fledged two young in 2009 and three in 2010.

Last summer I had the pleasure of watching their nest at least weekly. It was such an amazing experience to see little heads poking up above the nest in mid June.

Osprey with babies in nest

By late July they were grown and learning how to fly and catch fish! It is amazing to me how fast they grow! (They are only about 2 oz. when they hatch, but are full sized and fledge the nest in 8 - 10 weeks.)

Osprey Family @ Falls of the Ohio

The first Osprey to return was seen around March 19th, (Ospreys return to their nesting site separately. The males usually arrive first with the females arriving several days later.) The mate to this Osprey wasn’t observed until approximately April 3rd. My guess is that the cold snap delayed her trip.

The building of this years nest presents a bit of a challenge, since the Army Corps of Engineers had to remove last years nest to replace an antenna. This year the Ospreys are starting from scratch. When I stopped by Shippingport Island Sunday, I could see that they are slowly making some progress. Hopefully, they’ll finish their nest, lay some eggs, and we can look forward to watching the young Ospreys together this year!


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