On a beautiful summer morning in June, Wildlife Specialist Steven Hogg and his crew from Three Rivers Park District came to Vinland’s main campus in Loretto to band young osprey as part of the Twin Cities Osprey Project. Several of Vinland’s clients and staff members hiked out into the prairie to observe the banding.
There were two young Osprey in the nest, and it was very cool to watch Mitch and Jake from Three Rivers Park District bring the pair down from the nest as the mother and father Osprey kept a close watch from the air. Steven estimated that the nestlings were five-weeks old. He banded each Osprey with two bands: one is an easily identifiable color band, and the other is numbered and registered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 1984, Three Rivers Park District began an Osprey reintroduction project. That year, six young birds were moved from northern Minnesota to Carver Park Reserve, and released when they were old enough to fly. The goal of the program was to have 10 to 15 successful nesting pairs of Ospreys in the Twin Cities area. Today there are more than 130 nests in the metro area.
Banding is done to measure the success of the reintroduction program and to study the birds’ migration, range, longevity, and behavior. Due to the success of the reintroduction program, banding is currently being done at a select number of metro locations, including Vinland Center.
Vinland’s restored prairie along the north side of Lake Independence is the perfect location for an Osprey nest. Ospreys choose tall structures for nesting, often with a good view of fishable water. Ospreys also prefer nests in open areas to avoid Great Horned Owls, which hunt both young and adult Osprey. Staff from the Three Rivers Park District erected an Osprey nest platform several years ago on Vinland’s prairie.
The clients and staff both really enjoyed the morning and found it a useful use of their time!
Learn more about the Twin Cities Osprey Project online at www.ThreeRiversParks.org.
Fitness & Wellness Manager