Monday, July 8, 2013

Banding Osprey Chicks

Young osprey chick.

In the Minneapolis metro area, we have the pleasure of being able to enjoy osprey in our skies.  This wasn’t always true.  In 1984, Three Rivers Parks began an osprey reintroduction program with six young birds transplanted from northern Minnesota to Carver Park Reserve.  Once common in southern Minnesota, these birds had all but disappeared due to loss of habitat and use of the pesticide DDT. As a result of these efforts there are more than 60 pairs of Ospreys nesting in the Twin Cities. (You can click here for the Three Rivers website detailing the project.)

Missy Patty and Mark Martell band an osprey chick.

Osprey chicks are still banded, to continue an effort of learning more about these amazing raptors.  Mark Martell of Audubon Minnesota (and formerly of The Raptor Center) has been working with osprey since 1984.  He bands chicks in the north and east Metro areas.  Many of you might remember the work he did with putting satellite transmitters on osprey (read about Highway to the Tropics here and here.) 

Missy Patty assists Mark every year with banding the chicks.  She joined efforts to relocate osprey chicks to North Oaks in 1986.

 The difficult work of safely bringing the osprey chicks from their nest platforms to be banded is done by Jim Mussell and his team at The Tree Guys.  Jim, an arborist and long-time volunteer of TRC, has worked with raptors for many years.  He assists with peregrine chick banding, as well as many baby raptor calls for TRC (you might recall him replacing Harmon the bald eagle chick to his nest.)
This is a project, or color, band.

Here are both the project and federal bands.

Mark shows the feather sheaths on a young osprey.

Some nest platforms are harder to reach than others. 
One nest site required Mark and Jim to paddle to reach it.
Jim Mussell tells Mark how many chicks are in the nest.

Jim awaits the chicks to be banded before
he returns them to their nest.

Jim did some "housekeeping" in the nest while he waited.

Jim returns a young osprey to the nest.

Osprey are sent down and back in a bag.

A parent osprey returns quickly to her chicks. 
She uses her wings to shield them from the summer sun.

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