Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heartbreaking end to Lake Barkley’s Osprey nest

Sadly, I have to report that the Osprey nest at Lake Barkley has come to an abrupt end due to Great Horned Owls! It was observed on Tuesday morning that one of the chicks was missing. Some of the KEEP (Kentucky Environmental Education projects) volunteers went to the nest site to search the ground, thinking that he may have fallen out of the nest. However, they found no sign of the chick. On Wednesday morning another chick was missing. It was then that Ed Ray, KEEP founder and director feared that a Great Horned Owl was raiding the nest. Unfortunately, this morning the third chick was also gone.

I found myself watching the nest cam more yesterday than before, hoping that by some chance this little guy wouldn’t succumb to the fate of the others! Nest cams are wonderful tools to help us see into the world of birds. It also helps us to understand how much work and effort go into building and keeping a nest, the time that goes into just sitting on the eggs and waiting for the hatching, and finally the work that goes into taking care of the young, defending and protecting the nest. Unfortunately, GHO’s are bigger and much stronger than an Osprey. I’m afraid they wouldn’t have a chance against an Owl! I guess this is where the down side of nest cams comes in. We have a chance to experience the reality that sometimes occurs in the wild. I imagine this kind of thing happens far more often than we can fathom. We are just not aware of it. I think we also tend to humanize the birds that we watch when we are allowed such an intimate look. I personally, am pretty upset about this, but I will accept it and get past it!

The KEEP nest cam has not lost a chick in nine seasons, but with GHO’s involved this could be a recurring problem. Since this is the first season that something like this has happened, KEEP will be working to try to find a solution to this problem. Ed Ray posted an update on BirdKY listserve yesterday. In it he said, “The Osprey platform is about 50 yds. From a mature oak/Hickory forest. The platform was placed where it is, due to this pair of Ospreys attempting to nest just above high voltage power lines. If the platform were removed, the Osprey pair would very likely attempt to nest above the dangerous power lines again.”

Even though this Osprey pairs nesting season is over, let’s continue to keep KEEP in our thoughts and consider donating to them. Ed Ray also informed me that KEEP has donated about 45 all steel platforms, designed to prevent wind damage.  Most are placed mid-lake where they are totally safe from raccoons and GHO’s are not as likely to raid. Each platform costs about $275 for materials (the tall ones with support steel pipes) and all were funded by donations to KEEP. KEEP donates the platforms to KDFWR (KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources) and the USCG (United States Coast Guard) for installing whenever requested. KEEP donated six new platforms to KDFWR this spring. To make a donation go to the KEEP website and click on the “donate” button in the top left corner! 

On a more positive note, I went to Shippingport Island today to check on the Louisville Osprey nest. I couldn’t see any chicks yet, but it seems that they do have chicks. Mom looked to be feeding after Dad dropped off a nice sized fish! 

Osprey with dinner

When I first arrived I observed Dad coming back to the nest with a fish, and a third Osprey flying behind him. The third Osprey didn’t go toward the nest, but flew around awhile. Then Dad left the nest and flew around with him. It does make me wonder if there may be another Osprey nest somewhere in the area! I also observed an adult Bald Eagle twice flying around over near their nesting area. 

Osprey at Shippingport Island


Anonymous said...

The Shippingport Island Osprey have at least 2 chicks. I saw them last Friday. I was able to see one this morning

Karen Bonsell said...

Yea!! Thanks for the info!

Mia McPherson said...

Very sorry to hear about the loss of the Osprey chicks Karen.

Karen Bonsell said...

Thanks Mia, that is very sweet of you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Walgreens Printable Coupons