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Release: July 20, 1999

Macbride Raptor Project introduces four young osprey to region

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Macbride Raptor Project has continued its efforts to reintroduce osprey to an Iowa habitat by placing four young osprey in a "hack tower" at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area.

Jodeanne Cancilla, project coordinator of the Macbride Raptor Project, brought the osprey by car from the Minnesota Raptor Center in Minneapolis July 17 after high temperatures postponed their transport via air earlier in the week. The media is welcome to view the young birds in the hack tower at the Recreation Area, near Solon on County Road F28, one mile north of Mehaffey Bridge Road.

The birds, originally from Wisconsin, 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.

For arrangements to view the osprey, contact Cancilla at the Macbride Raptor Project, (319) 398-5495.