Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall is for ...

Platform Repairs and Installations

Fall is upon us and while ospreys are headed south or already in their wintering areas I am still keeping busy. This past Sunday I helped a Boy Scout with his Eagle Scout Project to install 4 nesting platforms. The platforms were installed near Ocean City and Somers Point. All platforms were placed on public property, state and locally owned. Two platforms were placed near duck blinds where ospreys nested in the past two years. Both nests failed to produce young. When ospreys nest on duck blinds their eggs and young are very vulnerable to predation from ground predators, like raccoons. The platforms we placed are specifically designed for ospreys and have a sleeve-type predator guards to deter predators from climbing up into the nest. 

Scouts from Troop 79 help Eagle Scout Holden Gentilini raise a platform. © Ben Wurst

One of the other two platforms was used to replace an old platform that has never been used by ospreys. It was large enough but very unstable. The main pole was only a 4x4". We only use 6x6" poles for our platforms. They have been shown to withstand strong Nor'easters we get in late winter and can easily support a biologist when they climb to survey and band the young in late June each year. The last platform was installed in a new location that is close to where a local dispute has occurred over a group that installed a platform on private property. The property owner removed the platform earlier this year just as ospreys were returning to nest in early April (also the time when it is illegal to remove a nesting platform). This platform will hopefully attract that pair since it is not far away and is in my opinion in a much more suitable location away from any human disturbance. 

Holden (left) finishes back-filling the hole on the final platform.
© Ben Wurst

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