CUMBERLAND — On April 13, Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative, Inc. notified staff at the Wilds that a pair of osprey were sighted constructing a nest on a power pole on International Road adjacent to Wilds property.
The nest was already singed from contact with the electrical lines.
Two days later Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative dispatched a crew and the equipment necessary to place a new 40-foot pole on a nearby hillside inside the Wilds perimeter fence.
With the assistance of Wilds personnel who built a platform for the nest, the nest was successfully relocated atop the new pole.
The osprey pair found the new location within 30 minutes after the nest was moved and are continuing to tend to the nest in full view of International Road.
The osprey reintroduction program at the Wilds has proven successful with 32 ospreys fledged on Wilds property since the program began in 2003 in partnership with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Ospreys were once common throughout North America, including Ohio.
Use of pesticides, particularly DDT, caused a dramatic population decline. As a result, the osprey is listed as an endangered species in Ohio.
Efforts have been underway since 1995 to establish a successful breeding population in Ohio.
The osprey is sometimes referred to as the “fish hawk.” This fish-eating raptor captures its prey by hovering over water until it spots a meal.
The bird then plunges feet first into the water and when successful, rises into the air and flies off.
Osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible which allows them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind; a particularly helpful adaptation for grabbing slippery fish.
The Wilds opens to the public for the 2010 season on May 1, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in May, September and October, and seven days a week in June, July and August.
The Wilds, one of the largest conservation centers in North America, is home to rare and endangered animals from around the world along with hundreds of indigenous species.
The mission of the Wilds, a nonprofit organization, is to advance conservation through science, education and personal experience.
For information, visit www.thewilds.org.