OSPREY REINTRODUCTION BREEDS SUCCESS|
LANSING--Michigan Department of Natural Resources
officials announcing the fifth year of the DNR's Osprey
Reintroduction Program today noted a pair of the birds were
recently observed on a nesting platform at Kensington
Metropark in Oakland County.
Ospreys primarily nest in the Upper Peninsula and
northern Lower Peninsula, with a few nests in southwestern
Michigan. They begin returning from their wintering grounds
in early April.
For the past four years, the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources (DNR) Natural Heritage Program supported
the transfer of osprey chicks from the northern Lower
Peninsula to south-central Michigan as part of a
reintroduction effort. Nearly 40 have been released since
1998. After fledging, the young ospreys migrate to South
America to winter. Once they mature, between two and three
years of age, males often will return to their fledging site
Wildlife Division Biologist Lori Sargent observed the
Kensington pair for several hours.
"It was tremendously satisfying to witness the success
of the release program we began in 1998," Sargent said. "The
male is a bird that was fledged in 1998. I saw breeding
activity as well as a successful fish catch by the male
osprey. Their current activity indicates that no eggs have
been laid in the nest, but we will be watching very
Sargent, who coordinates the Osprey program, noted
that the DNR releases male ospreys in southern Michigan
because males usually return to fledging sites and bring a
female with them.
"This is exactly what we hoped would happen, with
birds released in 1998 and 1999 returning to parts of
southern Michigan this year," Sargent said.
Osprey once lived throughout Michigan. These raptors
live near water and use their keen eyesight, superb flying
skills, and sharp talons to catch fish. Loss of habitat and
the use of DDT and other persistent pesticides were major
factors that led to their decline in the southern region of
the Lower Peninsula. They currently are listed as threatened
The Michigan DNR asks all wildlife observers in
southern Michigan to report any additional sightings of
osprey, particularly near the Maple River State Game Area,
north of St. Johns, and areas around Kensington Metropark
near Brighton. Osprey sightings can be reported to the DNR
at 248-328-8113, e-mail: OakesJ@michigan.gov or 517-373-
9418, e-mail: SargenL2@michigan.gov, or by contacting
Kensington Metropark at 800-477-2757, e-mail:
Please report only those osprey observed in southern
Michigan. Observers should note location, time, activity
(flying, fishing, etc.), and markings. It is especially
important to observe if the osprey is banded and, if
possible, the number on the band. The birds are marked with
a silver metal band on one leg and a green metal band with
an alpha-numeric code on the other leg.
The osprey program is funded through the DNR Nongame
Fish and Wildlife Fund, which is primarily funded by sales
of the Michigan wildlife habitat license plate.