We had a pretty successful weekend on Feb 17, 18, 2017. We built a great platform on the bog, on the island at South View Estates. The platform sits right on the bog which is largely cattails but also supporting shrubs. so it might be semi stable. We used a tripod of the new environmentally approved 4 by 4- 16 feet long. At the base these are webbed with 2×4 1 foot above the bog. The idea being that they will sink into the bog but only down to our 2×4 web. Each leg is supported by a cement block. From the center we have hung 3 cement blocks on a ratchet strap, which we presume will also sink and then we can go back and adjust the ratchet to keep the pressure on and prevent wind blow down.
I wish I could say we knew what we were doing, but this is something new and we invented as we went. It looks good and substantial. I am proud of it but we will see what happens after the thaw. This platform was built partially as a monument to the husband of our long term member Jean Bird. We moved the memorial plaque to the new platform. We met with Jean, her daughter Maggie came out to the island with us and was very pleased. By total coincidence last Saturday was the 18th anniversary of the death of Mr. Bird.
Unfortunately our other re-build project won’t get done due to lack of ice. but I think the osprey will still use the semi collapsed platform.
We are having a very good 2016 Osprey nesting season, partly by good management and partly by good luck.
In midwinter we had problems due to no ice. One nest at the County Rd 24 bridge was falling down and the other needed de-goosing. The hydro pole platform at Birch Point had fallen down and we had forgotten to de-goose Ken Reid Park platform. Then we got cold weather and were able to rebuild our Rd 24 platform at the bridge the first week of March.
Although the geese did visit our platforms they left again and the Osprey have re-inhabited them. At one of the platforms a bald eagle was very interested in the nest but the Osprey persuaded it find another home.
On April 20, Hydro One replaced the Birch Point Marina hydro pole platform and the Osprey are back on it.
The Hwy 36 site was de-goosed and occupied March 28.
As of April 21 all of our sites in the County Rd 24 and Bobcaygeon area are occupied by a mated pair of Osprey.
We will get up river by boat soon and see what is happening between Snug Harbour and Lindsay.
Of great importance to the survival of many species is when and where they travel throughout the year and throughout their lifetime. If a species disappears altogether from an area (extirpated), the knowledge of many things such as migration routes and food sources is lost. This is what has happened to the Trumpeter Swans which have been re-introduced into Ontario. It is hoped that they can find new routes and methods of survival to keep them alive in Ontario, Canada as they did when they were last here in the 1800’s. Fortunately for the Osprey, they have had a return to hopefully sustainable populations before this knowledge was lost to our Ontario birds. It is important to monitor migration of these birds so that their wellbeing can be tracked and maintained throughout their travels.
Friends Of The Osprey, Kawartha Lakes had tracking satellite transmitters installed onto 2 female Osprey in 2010 with the assistance of Bird Studies Canada. Although the signal was lost from one bird as it got to the Florida area, the other continued and we obtained valuable information about it’s migration to Brazil, South America each winter for a couple of years before it’s signal was also lost. The cost of this project was very high (satellite based system) and we are currently exploring the latest methods of bird tracking in the hopes that we might attempt to do it again. There are many methods and many companies supplying equipment for tracking. Here are some examples of newer methods and technologies (non-satellite systems).
Although not able to track individual birds, this new method is supplying an incredible amount of information for all species and it is important that as many people as possible are helping with this. Observations by individuals from around the world are reporting sightings and building a database that shows migration routes of all species throughout the year. With the advent of smartphones and all our internet devices, this is quickly becoming the biggest contributor to our knowledge of migratory routes and how mankind and weather affects them. Please do take time to learn about eBird and report what you see. Go to http://ebird.org/content/canada/ and create an account.
This relatively inexpensive method uses a small device known as a Geolocator. It is attached to the bird and each day stores the timing and amount of light. The device is later retrieved and the data analyzed giving a complete record of where and when it has traveled. This device works best with birds that return to the same nesting sites such as Osprey. Due to its low cost, this method allows many devices to be installed and even if not all are retrieved, can be very economical. One drawback to Geo Tagging is that the information is not transmitted live for constant monitoring. Due to the small size of these devices, many small birds have been tracked with this method and previously unknown migration routes discovered.
This is a quickly developing system that is being expanded so far throughout Ontario, Quebec, and New England areas. This is the description from the website http://motus-wts.org/?lang=EN
The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus) comprises a network of coordinated automated radio telemetry towers that track the movements of small organisms throughout terrestrial environments. The purpose of Motus is to facilitate landscape-scale research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory animals. It is a program of Bird Studies Canada (BSC) in partnership with Acadia University, Western University, the University of Guelph and all collaborating researchers and organizations.
As of early 2015, the array is comprised of over 200 automated VHF radio receiving stations, positioned from Hudson Bay, along the James Bay Coast, stretching from south-western Ontario to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, through the Maritime provinces and down the eastern seaboard to Virginia (click here to see a map of current receiver locations). A digital “nano-tag” tracking device is secured to an animal they can be detected in real-time up to 25 km away from any station. When combined, this array can track animals across a diversity of landscapes covering thousands of kilometres.
The data, which will comprise millions of individual records, are stored locally, and (optionally) transmitted back to a centralized data management system at BSC’s National Data Centre where data is filtered, archived, visualized, and disseminated. Researchers, decisions makers, non-government organizations, and the public can then query those data and examine the movements and behaviours of any species being tracked. This state-of-the-art system is the first of its kind in the world and will be open to all researchers and organizations.
Global System for Mobile communications… a fancy way for saying… cell phone text messaging. This method uses transmitters that send signals to existing cell phone towers. Although the devices (which include GPS for location) are still very expensive, the company Northstar has been charging a fraction of the cost of the devices in order to test this new technology (Cellular GPS GSM). The data will be saved and received when the bird gets close enough to a cell tower so may not be continuous. At full cost this method still costs thousands of dollars per bird per year, not much less than the satellite technology we used previously, however may be a good way to go if the price is reduced enough.
With the help of our supporters and fundraising, Friends Of The Osprey, Kawartha Lakes hopes to be able to track more Osprey if at all possible using one of the above methods.