DNR works with Marion High School to put up osprey nest

MARION  — The Department of Natural Resources recently put up an osprey platform and nest at a school in northeastern Osceola County.

The Marion High School shop class assisted the DNR with the project.

Katie Keen, a wildlife technician for the DNR’s Cadillac office, said  a osprey had nested for the last few years on the high school football light pole. As a result, the Marion School, Consumers Energy, and the DNR provided an alternative nesting site to the football lights.

The new site is right off the parking lot next to the football field.

“It’s not very far from the football lights where it had been,” Keen said. “You can see it right from there. It’s right near the football field. It’s its own platform, a 70-foot telephone pole with a platform attached to it. It’s not necessarily secluded. It’s literally 10 feet from a chain link fence which is 10 feet from the pole. Osprey tend to nest near humans. It’s more typically where they choose to nest. We have to change it for our sake, not their sake.”

The DNR also does this in other areas of the state, Keen said.

“Lot of people provide osprey platforms on their own. We did everything we could to hopefully inspire that osprey to use it again,” Keen said. “Osprey typically are at the same place. We’re hoping if they come back this spring they’ll choose a new site.”

It won’t be until next spring, Keen noted, when the DNR can determine how much the osprey will use the new site. They were able to remove a nest from another site at the end of August without affecting the status of other birds.

The Marion High School shop class built the platform and helped attach it to the top of the telephone pole.

“Consumers dug the hole, (put in the pole) and put the nest at the top of the pole,” Keen said, noting that the platform is made out of 2 by 4s with dimensions roughly four by four feet. The DNR coordinated the whole effort, Keen noted.

The school had contacted the DNR after the osprey kept coming back to the same location.