Friday, June 29, 2012
See Large Fish-eating Birds in Utah
Dutch John -- You can see ospreys, in the air and on top of their huge nests, at the Thirteenth Annual Flaming Gorge Osprey Watch.
The free event will be held July 7 on the peninsula next to the visitor center parking lot at Flaming Gorge dam in northeastern Utah.
Viewing runs from 9 a.m. to noon.
"We set up in the morning because the birds are usually more active early, before it gets hot and before the wind starts to blow in the afternoon," says Ron Stewart, regional conservation outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Stewart says the osprey watch is always a fun event. "Osprey are usually visible all morning," he says, "which gives us an opportunity to introduce visitors to these unusual birds of prey. It's also fun to talk with viewers who know ospreys well and hear their stories about ospreys from other areas."
Stewart says Flaming Gorge draws osprey like a magnet -- the largest breeding osprey colony in Utah, and one of the largest osprey populations in the interior part of the western United States, are found at the reservoir.
"The osprey return to Flaming Gorge every year to breed and raise their young," Stewart says. "A breeding pair will build on the same nest year after year, so a 10-foot tall nest is a fairly common sight at the Gorge. We'll aim spotting scopes at a couple of the nests so you can see the females and their young."
In addition to the spotting scopes, displays will be available that will help you learn more about the life history of these unusual fish-eating birds.
"Often, visitors get to see a male bring a fish in so the female can feed its chicks," Stewart says. "In past years, a few visitors have even been treated to the rare site of an osprey catching a fish.
"Besides the ospreys, other birds of prey, including golden eagles, turkey vultures and American kestrels, are frequently spotted."
For more information, call the DWR's Northeastern Region office at (435) 781-9453.
Ron Stewart, DWR Northeastern Region Conservation Outreach Manager (435) 781-5311 or (435) 781-9453