So you say you need A bird house.
We often get asked to build things that don’t fit in “normal” categories. Like new homes for endangered birds of prey. Working with the Friends of the Chicago River, we fabricated three new Osprey nesting platforms that will be installed around the Chicagoland area this spring.
Location. Location. Location. Osprey are pretty particular when it comes to choosing a nest. Their diet consists of 99% fish, so it needs to be near a water source with plenty of food. They like to have a great view of prey and predators, so the nest needs to be high. Like 80 feet high.
Pole setters from a local power company brought in an 80 foot tall telephone pole for the nest to sit on. Twice the size of a standard utility pole. The Chicago Botanic Garden chose a perfect spot next to the river along the North Branch Trail.
The platform design was specified by the Forest Preserve of Cook County and Friends of the Chicago River. It needs to withstand Chicago’s harsh weather, support a rather impressive nest, accommodate two birds with 5 foot wingspans and safely house 2 to 4 baby osprey. Once a year someone braver than us climbs up the pole to inspect the nest, check on the birds and clean old material out.
All you need is a 10 foot deep hole and a crane.
Once installed it’s all up to the osprey. They migrate in the spring and the males build a nest to attract a mate. Thanks in part to the efforts of Friends of the Chicago River the osprey are starting to make a comeback in Illinois as a breeding species. Next time you are near one of the many rivers in Chicago look up, you just might catch a glimpse of this majestic bird.