Friday, March 16, 2012

A Better Home All Around

If I were an Osprey, I'd be a little uncomfortable with a construction crew moving into my neighborhood and paving a new river trail right next to my nesting pole. In fact, I'd probably be so rattled I'd move away, possibly even abandoning my clutch. Doesn't take a whole lot of empathic imagination to see it from our Osprey's point of view. 

This Spring, the newest segment of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is scheduled to begin construction, shortly after the expected return of our Osprey from their winter migration in South America. In order to avoid the likely conflicts, Georgia Pacific and Terra Contracting, working with the Kalamazoo Nature Center, proactively cut down the Osprey's nesting pole and erected a new nesting platform on the opposite side of the river, right on top of the land-fill. It's basically a mirror image of their former nesting spot. The new site is safe from any future disturbances from construction, as well as the eventual flow of pedestrian traffic on the new trail. 

I'm sure the Osprey will be a little confused by the glaring absence of their former nesting pole and their convenient perch on the back pole, but when they scope out the new platform, I think they'll be quite pleased. If I were an Osprey, I'd move in. But then again, I'm not an Osprey, so we'll just have to wait and see.

The new platform was designed and constructed by local artist and naturalist, Brent Spink, and John Brenneman, Research Project Coordinator for the Kalamazoo Nature Center. John was approached by Garry Griffith, Director Environmental Field Services for Georgia Pacific, to orchestrate the nest relocation. Terra Contracting (contracted by Georgia Pacific) brought in it's fine crew to tear down the old nesting pole and help raise the new platform.

In the meantime, I'm busy rounding up all the necessary components for a nest-cam that we hope to install the week of March 19th. We've gotta hustle since Karen Chadwick spotted an Osprey March 15th, perched on one of the utility poles on the eastern side of the GP lot. It may or may not be one of our birds. According to Brenneman, that's also the earliest sighting of an Osprey returning to our area. Previously, the earliest recorded sighting for Kalamazoo County was March 27th. With these record setting temperatures for March, it's no surprise. Times are a changin'.

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