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Osprey Rebounding in Michigan, Chicks Banded in Southeast Region

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Osprey have been missing from much of the state of Michigan due to the effects of DDT, other pesticides and habitat loss.

Efforts to return the species to the southern part of the state have been quite successful.

Starting in 1998, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) relocated ospreys to the southern section of the state. Officials removed chicks from active nests in the north and reared in manmade towers in the south over a span of 10 years. The process is called hacking, and donations to Michigan’s Nongame Wildlife fund support the program.

In 2002, a single active osprey nest was reported in the southern part of the state. Recent counts by the DNR and volunteers from Michigan Osprey number more than 50 active nests.

“This is a true wildlife success story,” says Julie Oakes, DNR wildlife biologist. “Each year we have new nests, and we already have exceeded our original goal of 30 active nests by 2020. We have been able to remove ospreys from the threatened species list to a species of special concern and restore their numbers in Michigan.”

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Every year, officials band osprey chicks in southeast Michigan, and in June, they banded more than a dozen chicks. Locations of the chicks included Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, Erie State Game Area and Kensington Metropark.

The DNR says that several other osprey chicks will be banded before the chicks fledge, or develop the feathers necessary for flying, in mid-July.

Officials band the chicks at about four to five weeks of age—before they can fly—and two bands are used. A colored band denotes the year the chick hatched. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band, usually silver, bears a serial number specific to that bird.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Scientists band the young birds so they can monitor and track the dispersal, migration, life span, reproductive success, behavior and population growth of the ospreys, according to the DNR.

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Osprey Rebounding in Michigan, Chicks Banded in Southeast Region