Osprey will find some tempting places to raise young when they fly up the Connecticut River Valley this spring.
Two nesting platforms were raised near the Connecticut River in North Haverhill, New Hampshire.
The work is part of Project Osprey, a partnership among the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, and Public Service of New Hampshire.
Ospreys - which are a state-threatened bird of prey - currently have no nests along the Connecticut River in New Hampshire south of Pittsburg, though the river has plenty of good habitat, according to biologists.
"Hopefully, these nesting platforms will attract osprey to this area and boost the statewide population," said John Kanter, coordinator of Fish and Game's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program. "There's good habitat along much of the river, but no osprey in there now."
Earlier, the partnership raised two other osprey nesting platforms farther south on the Connecticut River, in Westmoreland. If all goes well, the birds will find the platforms, build nests on them, and raise young.
"This is an important and exciting project that PSNH is proud to support," said Gary Long, PSNH president and chief operating officer. "We hope it is successful in meeting the objective of restoring New Hampshire's osprey population."
The nesting platforms are set atop large poles, which are then drilled into the ground near good osprey habitat.
Osprey return to New Hampshire from southern wintering grounds each spring to breed near rivers, lakes and estuaries where they hunt for fish. Forty young ospreys fledged from 24 active nests this past summer, according to Chris Martin, senior biologist for the Audubon Society of New Hampshire. Unlike 20 years ago, or even ten years ago, the state's osprey pairs are now widely distributed, and nesting successfully, in all four of the Granite State's major watersheds.
For more information and photos, visit www.nhaudubon.org/research/00ospreys.htm