IN: Lake Monroe Osprey Platform Ready for Occupancy
At Fairfax State Recreation Area, a brand-new, high-rise home with a penthouse view of Lake Monroe awaits its first tenant.
The residence, a 4-by-4 nesting platform on top of a 60-foot pole, was designed with the osprey market in mind, located at the end of a narrow, wooded peninsula with access to plenty of fish. South Central Indiana REMC erected the nesting platform and two nearby 40-foot perching platforms Wednesday through its Energy for Wildlife program, which enhances animal habitat in the company’s seven-county service area.
The platform would appeal to a pair of young ospreys, probably 3 to 4 years old, who are entering the breeding period of their lives and looking to establish their nesting territory, according to Indiana Department of Natural Resources nongame bird biologist John Castrale.
“It’s certainly an excellent area for osprey,” Castrale said.
Man-made platforms are necessary in areas where existing trees do not provide the height and seclusion ospreys need to nest. The structures are just one element in DNR’s plan to restore osprey populations. Osprey numbers declined rapidly in the mid-20th century due to widespread use of the pesticide DDT, which has since been banned. By the 1980s, no nesting pairs of ospreys were known to exist in Indiana.
Between 2003 and 2006 the state released 94 ospreys from coastal Virginia at four locations across Indiana.The species is regaining its footing and Indiana is now home to about 40 nesting osprey pairs, mostly along the St. Joseph and Pigeon rivers in northern Indiana and Patoka and Brookville lakes in southern Indiana.
“Right now they are a state endangered species,” Castrale said. “Our goal to get them off the list is to have 50 pairs for at least three years.”
While eight bald eagle pairs nest along Lake Monroe, ospreys have yet to take up residence there.