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Lend Wings to Ospreys

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The return of the osprey to Canada’s rivers and lakes is as remarkable as the rebirth of the mythical phoenix from its own ashes. Once threatened with extinction due to the harmful effects of pesticides on its eggs, the osprey has made a phenomenal comeback since DDT was banned in North America in the early 1970s. But now this magnificent fish-hawk faces another challenge: the loss of nesting sites in tall trees and snags along shallow bodies of water because of human development.

To compensate for this habitat shortage, schools, Scouts, and community groups from coast to coast are providing artificial nesting platforms — with remarkable success. There are various ways to erect nesting structure, depending on the terrain. On hard terrain, for example, platforms are usually mounted on single poles, which are bolted to rock. Quadrupods — four poles lashed together — are used to support platforms in wetlands with muddy bottoms. The scale of these projects requires that you tap into the resources of your community. Here’s how to erect a single-pole structure on soft terrain:

Inspect the structure at least once a year. Remove a layer of sticks if nesting material gets deeper than 50 cm.