Thursday, June 01, 2006

Osprey, Ahoy!

Ospreys, being fish eaters, need to be near water. When they started to rebound from the affects of DDT, they chose to nest on man-made platforms in salt marshes and elsewhere. When there were no more vacancies on nest platforms, they moved on to channel markers and light poles.

But if you need to be near the water, there’s no place like a boat.

John Waldman, who is a professor at Queens College (and the author of Heartbeats in the Muck) sent me this picture, taken in late April (I realize it looks dark for an osprey, but John knows what he’s doing and I trust his identification). Here’s what he wrote:

[It’s] an osprey nest on the bow of a sailboat in the south portion of Hempstead Harbor. The boat is moored alone off a private home. This is at least the second year that ospreys have used this boat for nesting.

Ospreys are nowhere near as abundant as they used to be, but they’re no longer rare. A sure sign that a bird is doing well in its range is when it has used up the best nesting sites and moved on to less-optimum places. An osprey on the bow might be a pain for the boat owner, but it’s good news for ospreys.


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