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Osprey protection

Featuring:Juhani Koivu, Sääksisäätiö

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Osprey protection

sustainable forestry

Osprey benefits from long-term conservation work.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large diurnal bird of prey. Ospreys are widely distributed in Finland during their nesting season starting from April. In late August they leave again for their annual migration to the wintering grounds in Africa.

Even though Osprey’s diet consists solely of fish, nest is often located quite far away from waters. Habitats can vary from open marshes to commercial forests. The most important things for Osprey in choosing the nesting area are a suitable nesting tree and peaceful surroundings. Osprey highly appreciates open view in every direction. Bird always builds its nest in the uppermost fork of a tree. Flat-crowned old pines with strong branches, reaching higher than surrounding trees, are typical places for Ospreys to build their nest. One nest is used several years, even decades.

Artificial nests are well accepted among Ospreys. Nowadays a noticeable proportion of ospreys in Finland use the artificial nest platforms. These are constructed mainly by amateur ornithologists upon agreement with land owners. It is important, that artificial nest is located on a place that fits natural habitat requirements of Osprey and where forestry and other land use can be adjusted for favorable conditions.

Nesting trees are legally protected, not depending on if nest is occupied or not in given year. Special guidelines are followed for forestry operations also in vicinity of Osprey nests. Harvestings and silvicultural operations must be scheduled between September and March, outside of nesting season, to avoid disturbance. In immediate surroundings of the nest, clear cutting is not recommended because it makes nesting tree vulnerable for wind damages. Buffering trees must therefore be left. On the other hand, Osprey easily abandons its nest if neighboring trees exceed it by height. To prevent this, selective thinning is recommended to create open space around the nest.

Osprey is a good example how status of a species can develop positively by doing right conservation actions in cooperation of concerned parties. In the first half of 20th century Osprey was almost extinct from Finland. According to current Finnish red list of species, Osprey is assessed as least concern. This is a result of the active conservation work.

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