When intensive monitoring and management began in 1988 Vermont ospreys produced less than a handful of young. That number has steadily grown and in 2006 there were 82 nesting Osprey in the state. High productivity of ospreys in recent years has occurred due to the efforts of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and other cooperators.
Artificial nesting platforms have been critical to the osprey recovery due to the lack of suitable nesting sites. Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) has helped to build and install many nesting platforms in strategic areas identified by biologists. Many of these are now used by ospreys to build nests and raise young.
Osprey is a fish-eating specialist, with live fish accounting for nearly its entire diet. Barbed pads on the soles of its feet help it grip slippery fish. You can often see them carrying whole fish to a nest headfirst to make the load as aerodynamic as possible. These birds can be sensitive to human intrusion when nesting. It is fun to watch them, but biologists recommend that you to stay at least 300 feet from any nesting area.
This week five pairs of osprey were busy constructing nests at Sandbar Wildlife Management Area on Lake Champlain. If you observe any nesting activity, especially at natural tree sites, please report them and help monitor the Vermont Osprey recovery.
The sounds of spring are returning to Vermont. Ruffed grouse have begun to drum their wings, Wilson’s snipe are displaying with the winnowing sound of their outstretched tail feathers, and the nasal “peent” of woodcocks have been widely reported around the state.
Tree swallows have been reported throughout the state. Two barn swallows were observed on Lake Bomoseen on April 3. A field sparrow was found at Red Rocks Park in Burlington and a yellow-rumped warbler was spotted on Thompson’s Point in Charlotte on April 6
Northern finches continue to linger. Thirteen pine grosbeaks were seen in Eden on April 1. A hoary redpoll has been visiting a feeder in Waitsfield and common redpolls have been reported throughout the state. Many flocks of Bohemian waxwings were reported. A large flock of 235 was found at the South Burlington Technology Park on March 31.
A Barrow’s goldeneye was seen in Grand Isle on April 1. A drake canvasback was spotted at Delta Park in Colchester on April 4.
Merlins were seen in East Dorset on April 2 and Dead Creek WMA on April 6. A pair of Peregrine falcons was observed their Bolton Notch aerie on April 6.
You can explore all the birds reported last week in
- Kent McFarland