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Thread subject: The Final Points from Alan Poole's Osprey Book.....
Name Date Message
Celeste 05/06/04 07:08 pm Well, as you can see once I find a book I enjoy I can't put it down. Thank goodness it is not a very long book, cause boy am I behind in my "chores"! I must add I have only written highlights, as there are so many interesting studies that were done discussing mortality of osprey, nesting sights, habits of other countries toward the osprey etc. Here are some of the final "highlights"

1. It was found that those chicks that hatched early in the season survive to breeding age much better than those hatched late. (by the way the studies I paid more attention too were migrating osprey--there are limited studies to those few osprey who do not migrate as of when this book was written).
Obviously this is because early chicks have extra weeks to gain flight and foraging skills before migration. It also suggests that some osprey are better parents than others, breeding earlier or providing more food for their young or both.

2. Osprey who retain a mate from a previous season reproduce better than those with a new mate. Males who have previous experience in supplying food will do well each time if his mate is inexperienced. The reverss is not true if both parents are inexperienced as they will breed poorly. It is felt that even one years experience helps the male "know" his hunting ground the next year.

4. Osprey are different that other raptors as they do not defend feeding territories. Many breeders can share the same fishing grounds, but each pair must compete for its own nest site.

5. Once a nesting site has been chosen, osprey are generally faithful to it, (there was a study comparing osprey in Sweden and New England and because we had erected many platforms to attract osprey than Sweden, we had more osprey who returned to their birth nest sites.

6. The great horned owl is a big threat to osprey and they seem to be the only animal that will kill an osprey regularly. Owls will surprise osprey in their nests and of course kill their chicks also. In the US, raccoons are a big threat also. Osprey are quite adept, however, in finding a nest site that mammals can't reach.

7. There have been years when humans who fish for a living look at osprey as a threat and they would shoot them. In Latin America in the 70's, ospreys were killed for food. And for some remote Bolivian areas, an osprey is killed with a bow and arrow and an osprey bone is placed on the man's forearm in the hopes that it will give him magical hunting skills! Most of these things occurred in the 18th, 19th,20th century, and as late as 1953 osprey were killed for various reasons also. Generally, osprey have been shot during migration, (hunting season), and yet, for the most part breeding was not too much affected by this fall hunting. It might mean that hunters just got "extra" birds.

8. Thank goodness for live cams!!!! Before cams, nests were observed by climbing and looking at them, eggs were handled, mirrors put on long sticks to look inside a nest, and low flying airplanes. Yet with all this disruption, most of the time breeding was not affected. Tolerance of people, will help this bird succeed.

9. Artificial nest sites have helped greatly in helping the population of the osprey. Yet, providing all these nests we are taming this wild bird somewhat, and when we do this we increase our responsibility to this bird. Who decides where the platforms will be built, and how many in an area? Who will keep the curious and ignorant people from disturbing the nest? It is also important that osprey flourish in a more "natural world", such as Wertheim!!!!

10. There are some people who "hack" ospreys in order to re-introduce them to sites where they once flourished. For the most part this has been successful, (as Cecilia showed you in that article). Yet, when this is done, more research has to be done in the areas for good food supply, healthy lakes, etc., before this hacking is done.

The book goes on in technical detail what different countries have done through the years to osprey. The US has done well, however, it is Central Europe where ospreys are struggling the most. Early naturalists shot and killed osprey to study them. In Scotland, eggs were stolen from nests. In fact in one instance a man swam back and forth a frigid lake to steal osprey eggs, "blew the eggs clean" and washed them with whiskey!

Of course we all know about DDT in the 70's and threats of acid water which affects their food which continue till today. And yes, it is good that ospreys have adapted to our world, but most importantly what we can give osprey is the natural habitat that they once knew. There are some people who are on waiting lists for osprey platforms for their home landscapes! Jackie Onassis applied for a platform and had one built for her land! All for the sake of "conversation". This is ok,as it creates awareness,however in the end, "ospreys are guardians not just of wilderness lakes, but also of commercial harbors, desert islands, salt marshes, estuaries, rainforest rivers, etc. All of these things give life to Ospreys and Ospreys give life back to them. By preserving natural habitats the ripple effect gives both humans and our wildlife generous rewards!

THE END!!!!!!!! Unless Frank is kind enough to go to the library for me again and find another book!!!!!!!
Lori 05/06/04 07:35 pm Thanks again Celeste for all your knowledge!
Jack 05/07/04 08:59 am Celeste....You have done more to educate us all about the osprey than you can imagine. Thanks again for all your information. As a side note...it appears that the ospreys that were at the nest in the Montezuma Refuge in upstate N.Y. have left. I never noticed any eggs....and I don't know the reason for their departure
Celeste 05/07/04 09:30 pm Thank you Lori and Jack. Jack,perhaps the nest was occupied by first time "migrating birds" who were both inexperienced osprey. As this book mentioned when both parents are inexperienced the nests are not usually successful. Or perhaps a predator ate the eggs. Or maybe they "moved" to a new nest, which I would like to believe!
Mickey 05/08/04 10:17 am Jack........If thats the nest on the NY Wild site, there were 2 eggs. The hen roosted for 2 days and then both adults stopped.It breaks my heart to see that nest empty this time of year.

Copyright © 2004 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Fri Dec 31 23:49:43 EST 2004