The fish hawk or osprey continues to make a comeback in Iowa with the help of some literally “hands-on” care by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The D-N-R’s Pat Schlarlbaum says the osprey — like other raptors — were hit by the use of the chemical D-D-T in the 70’s. He says their numbers were dramatically impacted and they’re now trying to distribute the population throughout their historic range. Schlarbaum says osprey imprint on a home range and continue to return there. He says they get the chicks from Wisconsin and Minnesota when they’re about 42 days old. They hand feed the chicks fish until they get big enough to leave the nest. He says they start to fly at about 53 days of age, and then they start bonding to their new habitat in Iowa. Schlarbaum says it’s important to get the birds spread out over a larger area. He says should there be an environmental challenge to the birds in the future, then their population would be much more secure if it’s evenly distributed across the landscape. He says after several years, young have been hatched along Iowa lakes and reservoirs.
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