Osprey receive high-tech backpacks for tracking

looking at youFour Osprey chicks have been outfitted with GPS backpacks in an ongoing effort by the Department of Natural Resources to track the return of Osprey to Michigan.

In 1998 the DNR began efforts to bring up Osprey populations in the state.

The birds have a high mortality rate – 60% of the birds won’t live to their second birthday – so the DNR took chicks from nests and reared them in man-made nests to help increase survival rates.

In 2013 the DNR began putting GPS trackers on the birds to track their migration patterns. Only two of the birds outfitted since 2013 have survived.

Julie Oakes is with the Michigan DNR. She said overall Osprey recovery has been a success, particularly in Southern Michigan, where the bird almost completely disappeared.

“We couldn’t have even hoped when we started this reintroduction project in ‘98 that we would be where we are today.”

Oakes said they have just seen the return of one of the Osprey – Ozzie – from Colombia, and of the four chicks outfitted with new GPS trackers one of them has started to fly.

For those interested in tracking the birds themselves visit: http://michiganosprey.org/