Rebounding osprey population evident in Shuswap

Growth attributed to nesting platforms and ban on the use of DDT

Nested around the shore of Shuswap Lake or in the city on top of hydro poles, osprey have been a common sight this summer in Salmon Arm.

Ed McDonald, the president of the Shuswap Naturalists, said he has seen the number of the birds swell in the Salmon Arm bay area.

Although osprey can be seen along the shores of many fish-bearing lakes and streams, this was not always the case.

McDonald said before the widely-used insecticide DDT was banned in the early 1970s, populations of osprey and other birds were under threat. The chemical thinned bird eggs, often killing the embryo inside and leading to a population crash of ospreys, eagles and other species.

Read More: Osprey nest in downtown Salmon Arm will remain until new year

Read More: Teamwork brings injured South Okanagan osprey back to its nest

Since the ban, osprey populations have been steadily rising. That growth trend became sharper when BC Hydro crews began installing nesting platforms and taking steps to stop the birds from being electrocuted in the 1990s. McDonald praised the work BC Hydro crews do to build the platforms either on or near the power poles when ospreys are seen trying to establish a nest in the area. He also noted that ospreys are sometimes killed by the power lines, including one during the Roots and Blues Festival.

McDonald said the nests on the man-made platforms are less likely to be tipped over by windstorms than those in trees, but he noted that one of osprey nests near his home in Sunnybrae is in a large mature fir tree.

Availability of prey is what draws the osprey to the Shuswap. McDonald said they feed on young trout and salmon, but more frequently on the invasive carp which moved into the Shuswap from the Okanagan in the 1920s.

The relatively slow-swimming carp are also a favoured prey for river otters which also have a healthy population in the Shuswap according to McDonald.

Read More: Drones reported to be disturbing bird sanctuary

Read More: Hydro crews in B.C. help move ospreys evicted from nest

McDonald said a strong osprey population along the shores of Shuswap Lake is unlikely to have a negative impact on other species. Ospreys live almost exclusively on fish, meaning they are not competing for prey with other birds, such as the short-eared owls that make their winter hunting grounds in the Salmon River delta targeting mice and voles. Eagle populations are also unlikely to be negatively affected as the larger birds, which are not as keen fishers, are sometimes seen stealing ospreys’ catches.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Liam’s lowdown: Fall eats

If you hangout with people that do not cook, find new friends

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Sept. 19

Jack Snoddy Museum Assistant 120 Years Ago, Revelstoke Herald, September 20, 1899… Continue reading

VIDEO: Historic railway equipment moved to Revelstoke museum

The Selkirk Spreader was built specifically for Revelstoke in 1931 and retired in 2005

Columbia-Shuswap governments promised voice in caribou recovery

Population of Frisby-Boulder herd northeast of Sicamous at 11 animals and declining

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Epic overtime battle, big turnout for memorial night to late owner of Okanagan hockey team

The KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Most Read