Bald eagles were taken off Pennsylvania’s threatened list in 2014. Now, ospreys, another iconic bird of prey that has similarly enjoyed a successful reintroduction, may soon follow suit.
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The Pennsylvania Game Commission has released a draft of “Recovery and Management of the Osprey in Pennsylvania,” a new 10-year plan for ospreys. . . So successful has been the project that the Game Commission proposes to reclassify the osprey as either secure or recovered in Pennsylvania.
That would happen when at least 50 nesting pairs of ospreys are documented with at least 10 pairs in at least four different watershed clusters for two consecutive surveys. That shouldn’t be hard since there are an estimated 150 active nests currently in the state.
However, even before the population collapse due to DDT exposure, ospreys were never abundant in Pennsylvania. They were shot, their eggs collected, habitat degraded, poisoned and nests disturbed.They had a little help from Chesapeake Bay Ospreys:
They are doing so well now, the document notes, because of their affinity for such relatively new manmade structures as reservoirs, where they can easily find fish.
Restoration efforts began in 1980 and continued into 2007 with nearly 300 birds released in the Poconos, the Tioga/Hammond Reservoir, Moraine State Park in Butler County, Raystown Lake and Prince Galitzin State Park in Cambria County.
Young birds collected from the Chesapeake Bay were “hacked,” or raised on artificial nests in towers, then released into the wild. The restoration pioneers, Dr. Larry Rymon and Charles “Hoagy” Schaadt of East Stroudsburg University, worried that ospreys raised by people would not know how to feed themselves.