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Wild Birds Collected by Minnesota for Iowa

The utility company Minnesota Power has been helping conservation officials in Iowa for over ten years by collecting raptor chicks and shipping them south. Once in Iowa, the birds are located in wild areas where they once lived, but were wiped out due to contamination by pesticides.

The birds are osprey chicks. Utility workers find them in nests on top of their utility transmission structures, and carefully bring them down to ground level where they are taken into custody. After a short journey, the osprey are released in northwest and west-central Iowa near waterways where they can find fish for their diets. This year 12 chicks were relocated. Sixty-seven total chicks were counted in the survey area, so there are still plenty remaining in northern Minnesota.

Some of the osprey chicks are removed from the area north of Brainerd, Minnesota. (Brainerd was also part of the setting for the movie Fargo, which was directed by native Minnesotans Joel and Ethan Cohen). The area is known for having hundreds of lakes, and being a popular destination for fishing and boating.

“All the bird lovers in the Midwest can say there really are some positive environmental programs happening. Kids hear about them in school. Kids bring it to their parents’ attention. Those are lifelong memories. Those ospreys are their ospreys, ” said Iowa Osprey Program manager Pat Schlarbaum said of the interstate cooperation.

Ospreys are not hawks or eagles, but some people call them fish hawks. They are actually classified near the kite familiy. They mainly eat fish, and weigh between 2 and 5 pounds.

The banning of DDT allowed some of the osprey populations to begin to recover, “Osprey populations have shown a gradual increase since DDT and similar substances were banned in the United States in 1972. By 1981, 8,000 osprey pairs existed in the continental 48 states, and by 1994 a national survey tallied 14,109 pairs.”

Image Credit: MBisanz

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37 comments

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5:40PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:21PM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Thanks a lot for such a contribution from profit sector.Its great for conversation of course.

11:49PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Isn't it wonderful to read something positive for a change!
Keep up the good work and may you go from strength to strength!

7:10PM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

Thanks!!!

11:38PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

I hope they were old enough to be relocated. Maybe if we didn't abuse our environments with chemicals, we wouldn't have to worry about relocating.

1:00PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

i hope the chicks were old enough to be relocated.

12:23PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Thanks to all those who put their time and effort into this most worthwhile project.

10:45AM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

At least the birds are being relocated and not killed.

4:26PM PDT on Jul 24, 2010

They are beautiful

11:36AM PDT on Jul 24, 2010

Very Kool! the harm caused by high tension power lines over the years can be mitigated with acts of this nature.

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