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The birds here at the Wells Fargo complex in West Des Moines are the result of many years of reintroduction and recovery by Osprey in Iowa starting with the first successful nesting since European settlement at Spirit Lake and Iowa City in 2003.
In 2019, only one of the pair of birds showed back up at the nest platform after migration. No nesting occurred that year. In 2020, it appeared that the surviving bird had found a new mate! Two birds were seen at the nest, worked hard to spruce the nest up and were even caught mating on camera at least once. However, that did not translate into a successful nesting attempt. This is not unusual for a “new” pair, to not quite get their act together. So, we will be watching with all our fingers and toes crossed to see if the pair returns this year and is ready to get down to the hard business of raising a family.
In a normal year when young are produced, the young follow the parents to South America in migration but will then stay down there for the whole year that follows. This is an evolutionary strategy that benefits the Osprey population. Most mortality occurs during migration. The young will then return to Iowa as two year olds and will roam around Iowa until choosing a mate and nest site when they are four or five years of age.
In 2020, there were 30 Osprey nest attempts that we know about in Iowa. Seventeen of these nests were successful and produced 34 young which was an increase from the 2019.
Thank you to the staff at Wells Fargo West Des Moines campus for providing the camera that allows viewers to enjoy these unique raptors from incubation to first flight.
*Viewer Alert: In the wild, not every story has a happy ending. While we enjoy following the exploits of these amazing raptors, images of them dispatching prey and the young competing for survival can be graphic and upsetting to some viewers.
Note: Viewer feed does require a refresh every 5 minutes due to the utilization of cellular data. Thank you.