Monday, July 15, 2013

Illinois wants ospreys to call it home

Five osprey chicks from Langley Air Force Base in West Virginia arrived in Illinois on Wednesday night, the first step in an eight-year program to re-establish nesting ospreys in the state.

The osprey is a fish-eating hawk that is listed as endangered in Illinois.

Young birds are loyal to the places where they were raised, often returning as adults to nest.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources wants to take advantage of that tendency by placing young in a specially designed nest box at Anderson Lake southwest of Havana.

Graduate students from the University of Illinois Springfield will monitor the birds, leaving food and keeping the area clean until they are old enough to leave the nest.

The process is known as hacking, a falconry term for gradual release.

When the birds are ready to fly, the doors of the hack box will be opened so the young ospreys can test their wings.

Students also will attach radio transmitters so they can keep track of their movements.

The story was featured in The State Journal-Register on  July 14, 2013.

Read the article online