Nine, 42-day old ospreys will be released at two locations in the next few weeks, as part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ effort to re-establish a sustainable population of this fish eating bird of prey.
Four will be released at Mud Lake, on the Mississippi River, with the assistance from the Dubuque County Conservation Board and the University of Dubuque, and five will be released at Swan Lake, in Carroll County, with assistance from the Carroll County Conservation Board and Save Our Avian Resources.
These young ospreys are capable of tearing apart fish but not yet fly. The public in Dubuque and Carroll County can help this effort by donating fresh fish the raptors need to survive. Once they reach about 54 days old, they will begin to take flight then achieve self sufficiency within a few weeks.
Ospreys return to nest where they learn to fly and to forage for fish. Once in Iowa, ospreys, particularly the males, will imprint on Iowa to return to nest when three or four years of age.
Since 1997, 247 ospreys have been released at 12 sites; 110 wild ospreys have been produced at 63 successful nests since 2003.
A nest cam has been installed on nest platform in Spirit Lake: