Iowa environmental officials are excited about another milestone in the effort to reintroduce various birds of prey to the state. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Bruce Ehresman says they’ve been able to document the hatching of an osprey chick near Spirit Lake in Dickinson County. Ehresman says it’s significant because osprey haven’t nest in Iowa for at least one hundred years. He says American Indians have osprey in some of their legends and they were known to be located around the great lakes, but this is the first time in a century a nest has been documented. Ehresman says the osprey are not adventurous pioneers, so it’s taken a concentrated effort to reintroduce them into the state. He says it started at Lake Macbride’s raptor center and there were also releases in Black Hawk County at Hartman Reserve, and at Saylorville Lake and Jester Park in central Iowa. Ehresman says you’re most likely to see osprey during the spring and fall, but you may see some hanging around this summer. He says they look a little like bald eagles, but are smaller. Ospreys can dive all the way into water to catch a fish, while eagles will pluck the fish off the surface of the water without diving in. Pesticides and the loss of habitat helped push the osprey out of the state, and Ehresman says it’s good to see them making a comeback.He says it’s important to bring back things that once were here. He says ospreys were a component of the ecosystem and he fully expects them to be nesting along all our reservoirs in the next 10 to 15 years. Ehresman says a male released in Coralville in 1998, and a female osprey released at Saylorville in 2000, hatched the chick at Spirit Lake.
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