Article Posted: July 08, 2003

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Birds released at the Wilds and Lake LaSuAn State Wildlife Area in
Williams County

COLUMBUS, OH - Sixteen osprey obtained from Langley Air Force Base
in Virginia were recently released this summer in eastern and northern Ohio
as part of an eight-year effort to reintroduce this great bird of prey to
the Buckeye State, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
(ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"Osprey were once fairly common in Ohio," said Steven A. Gray, chief
of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "We have worked since 1995 to
re-establish a resident breeding population of osprey and our efforts so far
show promising results."
Six fledgling birds have been prepared for release by state wildlife
biologists at Lake LaSuAn State Wildlife Area in Williams County and eight
have been prepared by staff biologists for the Wilds in Muskingum County.
Two more birds have been fostered into nests in Portage and Stark counties.
"The birds we have just received represent a 'win-win' situation for
both the states of Ohio and Virginia," said Gray. "These birds were
obtained from nests located too close to a runway at Langley Air Force Base,
presenting a hazard to aircraft. Now, instead of posing a risk for military
pilots they are boosting Ohio's wildlife diversity efforts."
Reintroduction of the birds involves a process known as "hacking,"
which means taking osprey that are not yet able to fly and feeding them in
an enclosed cage for a few weeks until they mature and are ready for flight.
Food is provided to the ospreys until they become proficient hunters.
One of the difficulties faced in re-establishing the species in Ohio
is the tremendous distance that osprey migrate. Young osprey travel as far
south as South America, and may not return to Ohio as breeding adults for
three or four years.
Ospreys, also referred to as fish eagles, were once common
throughout North America, including Ohio. Extensive use of pesticides,
particularly DDT, resulted in dramatic population declines.
Prior to Ohio's reintroduction efforts, the last successfully
producing osprey nest in Ohio was at Grand Lake Saint Marys in 1913. The
last known nest in the state was at Buckeye Lake in 1941.
Known for their dramatic feeding habits, ospreys hunt by hovering
high over a lake, river or pond searching for fish near the water's surface.
When a fish is sighted, the bird will fold its wings and dive, hitting the
water talons first.
Ospreys are listed as endangered in the state of Ohio. The program
to reintroduce the species to the state is funded by the ODNR Division of
Wildlife's Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund.
The fund is derived from contributions to the state income tax
check-off program and from the sale of wildlife conservation license plates.
Ohio taxpayers can donate all or a portion of their refund to the Endangered
Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund each year on their Ohio income tax form.

Wildlife conservation license plates featuring either Ohio's state
bird, the Northern cardinal, or the American bald eagle can be purchased
through a deputy registrar license outlet or by calling the Ohio Bureau of
Motor Vehicles toll free at 1-888-PLATES3

Source: ODNR

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