Groups Team Up to Bring Predator Back to Region
March 24, 2014 — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) are partnering to bring a state-endangered bird back to the region after more than 100 years.
The organizations worked together to install two 30-foot osprey nesting platforms atop utility poles at Indiana Dunes State Park.
According to Indiana DNR officials, the osprey is a bird of prey with a nesting population of fewer than 60 pairs in Indiana. Ospreys hunt fish, and often dive into shallow water feet-first to catch a meal. In the eastern United States, where ospreys have rebounded more quickly following bans on DDT, the birds favor artificial structures near water for nesting. Annual bird counts have shown that more than 100 osprey migrate over the dunes each spring.
“The osprey is a fascinating bird to watch” said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist at the park. “Their comeback is a symbol of the importance of wetlands, clean water and a healthy environment. They’re a great bird to get visitors excited about wildlife and to learn more about the outdoors.”
The two nesting platforms are visible to the public. The first can be seen from the Trail 8 boardwalk, near the park’s Wilson Shelter. The other can be seen from the park’s eastern boundary, along Kemil Road, north of U.S. 12.
The Friends of Indiana Dunes helped provide funds for the platforms.