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Every summer since 1998, osprey chicks have been relocated from nesting sites northern Michigan
to hacking sites in the southern part of the state. The project is aimed at assisting the range expansion of ospreys in lower Michigan.
Ospreys are listed as a threatened species in the state.
bald eagles and peregrine falcons, they were hard hit by the liberal use of
pesticides shortly after World War II. Unlike peregrines, Michigan never lost
its entire osprey population; the species managed to persist
in small numbers in the state. Since the ban of DDT and other similar persistent pesticides,
rebounded in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Aided by manmade
nesting structures, there are several places where multiple nests can be
observed in a small area.
Once found throughout southern Michigan, ospreys did not expand their
nesting activities into areas of suitable habitat in that part of the state. To
facilitate that expansion, releases have occurred at Maple River State
Game Area north of St. Johns, Kensington Metropark near Brighton, Stony Creek
Metropark in Shelby Township, and a site on private land in Barry County. All areas
have the large open water habitats (lakes, marshes, rivers) and have historic
records of osprey activity.
The goal is to reestablish osprey nesting in these and several other sites in
lower Michigan. This project is a cooperative effort between the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources,
Huron Clinton Metro Parks,
and the Detroit Zoo.
Funding is being provided from the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund.