Osprey spotted!

Several conservation partners across Iowa worked with the Iowa Department of Nature Resources and energy companies from Wisconsin and Minnesota from 1997 through 2016. SOAR worked with partners to hack 31 young osprey at the Whiterock Conservancy osprey tower from 2006 through 2011. This was all possible thanks to generous donors and very willing volunteers!

Why place young osprey in hack towers and release? From Iowa DNR retired technician, Pat Schlarbaum, “Male Ospreys show strong fidelity to ancestral breeding areas, preferring to nest colonially where adults originated. Female ospreys may disperse hundreds of miles from their origin; however, males will generally return within about 20 miles of origin. Due to this very low dispersal tendency by males, young ospreys are prime candidates for relocation.” The hope was that this hacking strategy would improve nestling survival and increase Iowa’s nesting population of osprey.

SOAR just found out that there were three nesting pair of osprey around Lake Panorama this past summer. “As the osprey flies,” Lake Panorama is only 20 miles south of our hack tower at Whiterock. In 2018, there was an osprey nest also near Lake Panorama on a cell phone tower, but the adults abandoned this nest.

What is so significant about osprey nesting at Lake Panorama? These Lake Panorama osprey very likely share “family tree history” with those osprey hacked at the Whiterock Conservancy tower!

Stay tuned next year as SOAR recruits photographers with REALLY nice telephoto lenses to respectfully document these nests!

The view from the Whiterock hack tower.

AC and another osprey in the hack tower in 2006.

2006 – the gates are open!

PC with a fish on the hack tower in 2008.

Y9 on top of the hack tower in 2006.

Osprey perched and flying near the hack tower.