Helping out the osprey

RECC puts up nesting platforms at Sangchris Lake

The osprey-watch is on at Sangchris Lake State Park! Two new nesting platforms were installed on August 17 by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), with assistance from RECC, to attract nesting ospreys to the area.

Ospreys – a bird of prey listed as an endangered species in Illinois – nest in large trees, on rock formations, or on artificial structures near lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, where the adults feed on fish. Elevated platforms like those installed by RECC at Sangchris Lake have been used successfully by nesting osprey at a number of locations in the Midwest, including at the Lake Shelbyville Sullivan Beach area in central Illinois.

“Park visitors, wildlife watchers and our IDNR site staff and biologists have seen ospreys spending time in and around Sangchris Lake during migrations each spring and fall, and we hope installation of these platforms will encourage more nesting pairs to produce chicks here,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “We appreciate the cooperation of RECC in providing the utility poles and platforms and installing them at Sangchris Lake as part of this wildlife restoration effort.”

Adult ospreys – sometimes mistaken for the larger bald eagle – are generally 21-26 inches long with a black upper body and mostly-white head, chest and underbelly. Like other birds of prey, the population of ospreys in the U.S. has rebounded since the use of the pesticide DDT was discontinued in the early 1970s. No osprey nests were seen in Illinois from the early 1950s until the mid-1980s, and efforts like the platform installation at Sangchris Lake are used to attract even more nests in the state.

Co-op crews installed two elevated platforms, mounted on 30-foot poles, beside Sangchris Lake southeast of Rochester. Branches and vines were weaved around the platforms to provide inviting nests for any passing ospreys.

“Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative has always had a good working relationship with the State of Illinois and Sangchris State Park, and we are happy to assist the park with the installations of the osprey nest platforms to help build the population of these beautiful birds,” said Manager of Operations and Maintenance Lou DeLaby.