Ospreys build their nests in tall trees alongside shallow waterways. But much of their traditional nesting ground has been destroyed by humans, and they have had to build their nests in dangerous places, such as electrical towers. Recently various organizations have launched initiatives to rehabilitate the osprey by building nesting platforms for the raptors.
Ospreys are found across North America, yet the osprey population dropped drastically in the 1950s and '60s. Chemical pollutants, especially DDT, found their way into water systems and in their fish populations. DDT and other harmful pollutants were banned in 1970s, and today the osprey is making a slow comeback.
Things You'll Need
- One wooden pole, 20 to 30 feet tall
- 4-by-4-foot nesting pallet, with a 10-inch high fence
- Four wood or metal braces
- Power auger
- 6-inch spikes
- 2-inch roofing nails
- Steel guy wire
- Four eye bolts (minimum 2-inch thread)
- Pliers, claw hammer and sledge hammer
- 3.2 by 3.2 square feet of sheet metal
- Straw and wood chips
Attach the wooden pallet to the top of the pole, creating the nesting platform. Wire or nail the braces to the platform.
Use the power auger to drill a hole into deep soil, 3 to 6 feet deep. Place the pole in the hole and secure it with cement and rock or sand. Attach steel guy wires to the pole for added support.
Wrap the sheet metal around the base of the pole -- this creates a predator guard, preventing raccoons from climbing up the pole. Nail them into tightly into place so that predators have no toeholds.
Line the nesting platform with straw and wood chips.
Tips & Warnings
- Since ospreys feed almost exclusively on fish, there must be a waterway less than two miles from the nesting platform.
- Platforms should be erected in open areas to give the birds protection from owls and raccoons.
- When building multiple platforms, space them at least 330 yards apart.
- Check with your local parks or wildlife authority before constructing a nesting platform, as it may be illegal in some areas.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images