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Release: July 14, 1999

Macbride Raptor Project introduces four young osprey to region

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Macbride Raptor Project continues its efforts to reintroduce osprey to an Iowa habitat this week when four young osprey are placed in a "hack tower" at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area. The hatch-year osprey are being brought in from Wisconsin.

The media is invited to watch the osprey being placed in a box on the tower at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 16. Approximately 100 children attending Macbride Wildlife Camps will also attend the osprey "hacking." The Macbride Nature Recreation Area is located near Solon on County Road F28, one mile north of Mehaffey Bridge Road.

The birds will be kept in the box for about two weeks in order to acclimate them to the area in hopes that they will remain nearby after they are released to the wild. This is the third year the project has brought the birds back to Iowa, and the ultimate goal is to establish nesting pairs of the birds. If that can be accomplished, project coordinators expect that one or two birds would be hatched each year, leading to a natural recovery of the species in this region.

The osprey can weigh between 2.75 to 4.5 pounds with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, making it close in size to a small eagle. Although the osprey is sometimes called the fish-hawk or fish-eagle, it is neither a hawk nor an eagle, but a related species with its own classification. Ospreys reach maturity in their third year, so the first possible nest resulting from this Osprey Introduction Project would not be established until 2000.

The Raptor Project is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources also participate in the project and have established eight nesting platforms along the Coralville Reservoir and Lake Macbride shorelines. The Macbride Raptor Project, founded in 1985, is devoted to preserving Iowa's birds of prey and their natural habitats. The project achieves its goals through the rehabilitation of sick and injured birds, educational programs for the public and field research of Iowa's native raptors.

Those who wish to attend are encouraged to arrive at 11 a.m. in order to have time to reach the tower site. Macbride maintenance personnel will be in the parking lot at the Macbride Raptor Center to direct media traffic back to the hacking site. Media should be advised that high temperature conditions could postpone the hacking.

For further information, contact Jodeane Cancilla at the Macbride Raptor Project, (319) 398-5495.