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New Homes for Osprey

The osprey, commonly called the "Fish Hawk," is an uncommon winter visitor to the Magic Valley Region. In recent years, however, there have been more sightings of this unique bird in our area. In the spring of last year, a pair of osprey successfully raised young on an artificial platform put up by Idaho Power along Billingsley Creek in Gooding County. Idaho Power contacted Fish and Game for assistance, as the determined birds kept trying to build a nest on poles that were not at all suitable, for either birds or Idaho Power customers. This nest platform is at the bottom of Vader Grade, west of Wendell. In an attempt to "short stop" other ospreys and entice them to nest in the Magic Valley, other nest platforms have been erected. The most recent ones were put up on Nature Conservancy property at the 1,000 Springs Preserve. Preserve manager Ralph Crowley and preserve hosts Robert and Betty Davenport worked with Dan Olmstead, Community Relations for Idaho Power, to raise two osprey platforms on Ritter Island. Twin Falls Eagle Scout candidate Brad Hyatt built the nest platforms; the Magic Valley Regional nongame budget paid for all the nest platform materials. Idaho Power provided the poles to put the platforms on, dug the holes and planted the structures on Ritter Island. Idaho Power's Gooding Line Crew of Rex Watson, Tony Calzacorta, Otmar Hofstetter, and Jim Goolsby were responsible for the final touches to make the platforms attractive to osprey. The Department of Fish and Game requests that bird watchers advise the Jerome office whenever they notice ospreys, and adult bald eagles, still in the valley in late winter or early spring. These birds may be inclined to stay and nest in our region. Fish and Game wants to keep track of nesting attempts and any young that are produced locally. Please report such observations to Mike Todd, Regional Nongame Biologist, at the Magic Valley Regional Office in Jerome, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., phone 324-4359.