Four osprey chicks in southern Michigan have been outfitted with backpack GPS/GSM telemetry units.
The backpack units that four osprey chicks now don will help scientists track the young ospreys’ movements, both daily and seasonally.
“We are very excited to have this opportunity to place GPS units on several ospreys this year,” said Julie Oakes, DNR wildlife biologist. “This will provide us with information on what migration routes the birds take and will give us insight into what perils they must endure on their migration.”
The chicks were hatched in nests on platforms at Kensington Metropark in Milford and Sterling State Park in Monroe.
The towers were climbed by crews from Clearlink Wireless Solutions, Skyline Services LLC, Newkirk-Electric and Earthcom Inc. to get to the chicks.
The DNR says the state’s osprey population is rebounding, and it is tracking the species in southern Michigan to measure revitalization efforts.
The DNR began relocating osprey to southern Michigan in 1998. Chicks from nests in northern Michigan were transplanted to man-made towers in the southern portion of the state.
The relocation effort lasted 10 years. In 2013, the DNR and the group Michigan Osprey found at least 56 active nests in southern Michigan.
“This is a true wildlife success story,” said Oakes. “Each year we have new nests. We have already exceeded our original goal of 30 active nests by 2020. We have been able to remove ospreys from the threatened species list and restore their numbers in Michigan.”
The four backpack units were funded by donations from DTE Energy, Huron Valley Audubon and Michigan Osprey volunteers Martha Wolf and Barb Jensen.
Anyone can follow the movement of the birds by visiting the Michigan Osprey website at www.michiganosprey.org. In addition, anyone observing a nesting pair of ospreys in southeast Michigan are encouraged to report the sighting at the same website.
All photos via Michigan Department of Natural Resources