Nature Network Conservation Directory

Project Title: Osprey Platform Mounted in Soft Ground

Region: Ontario East

Number of Participants: 8

Date: Completed March 1998

Group Name: Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN)

Project Description:

A need for a platform was identified in good osprey fishing habitat where there were few suitable nesting trees. The site chosen was the end of a peninsula of semi-solid land in a protected bay where no heavy machinery could go. Working from the lake ice with eight volunteers using only a car, pulleys, ropes, chain saws and hand tools, a pre-made platform was mounted on a long, heavy cedar pole, stood up and sunk about four metres through the ice into the soft soil. A small pole was first sunk into the mud as a stop and brace. The end of the main pole was then sharpened to a chisel point. A trough was cut in the ice to guide the pole to the stop and the chisel point placed against it. Pulleys and rope were attached to the pole and a nearby tree to gain a mechanical advantage and the pole was pulled up a bit at a time by the car with the volunteers lifting and guiding it. Once the pole was erect against the guide, it was allowed to drop into the trough by breaking the ice around it. The pole was driven into the mud bit by bit using scabbed on foot holds for the volunteers to jump on in unison. Two more brace poles were driven in beside the main pole and all attached with fence brace wire. A predator guard of sheet metal was place high around the pole to prevent raccoons and other animals from accessing the nest.

About four weeks later a pair of osprey took possession of the platform and built a nest. The first summer there was no evidence of successful breeding. However, every summer since a pair has fledged at least one young on the nest.

Often the best sites for osprey platforms are inaccessible sites isolated from shore. Ospreys probably choose sites like this for protection from predators. Erecting heavy poles at these sites is a real challenge without heavy equipment. But it can be done and is worth it if you can provide a nesting site where no opportunities exist in otherwise suitable habitat. This work can be dangerous so be sure you get lots of help and know what you are doing. Take your time and plan it well.

Project partners: N/A

For more information:

Chris Grooms

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The conservation directory is for information purposes only. These conservation projects are implemented by individual groups of the Nature Network. Ontario Nature does not necessarily endorse or support these projects.

In order to meet the requirements of the insurance policy with LMS Prolink your group must follow the procedures as listed in both the Leadership Manual and the Risk Management Manual. Please remember that this insurance policy DOES NOT cover groups using power tools. If you have any insurance related questions, please contact LMS Prolink.

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