|Osprey on a fish search - Joe Motto|
They migrate to Mexico in the winter, returning to raise their families, and any year there are between 10-20 nesting pairs in Missouri. They build their nests in high structures with a view, and there-in lies the problem. Around Stockton, power line transmission towers provide the prime real estate. This creates a risk for fires, destroying nests and interrupting electrical transmission grids.
Empire District Electric Company faced this problem and contacted Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS) to work on a solution. Working before the osprey returned this year, Empire built a nesting platform on a rugged ridge near Stockton reservoir and transplanted a nest from a nearby transmission tower, including a webcam to monitor the nest.
|Empire's osprey cam|
"Ospreys, sometimes referred to as fish eagles, are magnificent raptors that live near large bodies of water and eat primarily fish. They can be found on many of the lakes and rivers in the Ozarks during migration. They are slightly smaller than an eagle and not as bulky. On some of our beautiful Ozarks lakes, like Stockton, where ospreys nest, it is not uncommon to see several on any given day during the warm seasons. Osprey nests are rare in Missouri, however, with the Missouri Department of Conservation reporting only 10 to 20 statewide in 2014. In the winter, they head for the Gulf of Mexico, Central, or South America." News-LeaderEmpire is considering building more nesting towers. At a time when conservation causes and big business don't always play well together, lets hear it for GOAS and Empire District Electric Company.
More on these magnificent birds including photographs and video is at Beautyofbirds.com.