It’s not often I can observe an Osprey family relatively close up.
Most Osprey nests I’ve seen in Michigan are a few hundred feet away from shore, making a spotting scope required to observe the birds.
Not so with this Osprey family nesting on the western shore of Lake Erie near the Michigan/Ohio border.
Probably around 100-150 feet away, the nest on the specially constructed platform on Michigan Department of Natural Resources land is home to three chicks and their two parents raising them this summer.
I’ve been delighted to view the nest for several weeks this summer, from inside my vehicle so as not to intrude too much on the birds.
When I first spotted the nest on the platform, I could only view the parents.
Later, I saw the chicks flying back and forth from the nest to a nearby dead tree where they landed for several minutes.
What a treat to watch the chicks grow up!
Ospreys are large raptors, often seen near shorelines and waterways as they soar above searching for food.
One of my first observations of an Osprey was at Seney National Wildlife Refuge in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
I had no sooner spotted a large bird in the air when it quickly dove to the water, grabbed a live fish out of the water with its talons, and flew to a nearby tree.
According to Cornell Labs All About Birds website, Ospreys are a conservation success story.
Like the Bald Eagle, their numbers plummeted in the 1950’s and 1960’s when pesticides poisoned the birds and created thin shells on the eggs.
After the pesticide DDT was banned in 1972, Osprey numbers increased.
Ospreys are found throughout North America. Birds that breed in North America typically migrate to Central America, though there is a small population that overwinter in Florida and California.