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Energy & Environment

Next Science On Tap: The Return And Challenges Of The Osprey

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Science On Tap
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Ospreys are the focus of the next Science on Tap Wednesday in Minocqua.

Raptor populations were struggling but due to a focused effort to improve habitat and cut chemicals, they're numbers are rebounding.

Bruce Bacon worked for 34 years with the DNR in Wildlife Management and research. He says ospreys now are doing well.

He says ospreys come from being on the Endangered Species List to now being protected by the Migratory Bird Act..

"...I'll talk about how we got there from the times when DDT was widely used which caused egg shell thinning which caused species like osprey, eagles and other fish-eating bird populations to crash. And then how they recovered after DDT was banned. Wisconsin being one of the first states to ban DDT...."

Bacon says while ospreys are doing well, overall, in some places where they compete with eagles for fish, their numbers are less. He says ospreys are very specific fish eaters.. "Eagles, their diet is quite varied. They can scavenge. They can kill, eat meat, scavenge on venison,kill rabbits. It's a more varied diet. Whereas the osprey, they're just strictly fish-eaters. They don't scavenge, so they look for fish near the surface..."

Bacon says elevated platforms have helped ospreys nest. He will discuss factors, both historic and current, affecting osprey populations. He also will discuss insights from a 3-year study where cameras were positioned on osprey nests offering a unique view.

Bruce Bacon's presentation is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Minocqua Brewing Company in Minocqua. If you can't make it there's more at  http://www.scienceontapminocqua.org/upcoming-events.html

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