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Rothschild Mill Helped Relocate Nesting Ospreys

relocate nesting ospreys

Looking for a new home is all about location — even when you’re an osprey. Domtar’s Rothschild Mill in Rothschild, Wisconsin, recently helped relocate nesting ospreys to a better neighborhood. The new home will also provide a place to nest for this and future osprey pairs in the years to come.

In July 2015, a resident saw a pair of ospreys trying to establish a nest on a construction crane being used at a bridge expansion project. The height of the crane was appealing to the ospreys, which prefer elevated nests in open areas. The construction crew was less than pleased.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and the construction company began looking for a new home for the ospreys, which are a protected species in the state. The DNR contacted Domtar about possibly placing a platform in the Rothschild Mill’s Wood Yard. Because of all the activity in the area, however, Domtar thought it wasn’t a safe location.

Finding the Best Place to Nest

The goal was to find a location close enough to the crane so the migratory birds would find the new nesting area when they returned in spring. Domtar recommended building a nesting pole on Domtar property on the west bank of the Wisconsin River. This location was close to the crane but in a more remote area, which would be safer for the birds.

In September, after the site was approved by the DNR, Domtar obtained a permit from Rothschild, which allowed the company to cut three trees along the shoreline. Domtar donated those trees to a local Boy Scout Troop, which cut and sold the timber as firewood to raise funds for the troop.

With the nest site ready, it was time to put up the platform. Wisconsin Public Service donated and delivered a 56-foot utility pole to the site. Quest Engineering, with the guidance from the DNR, constructed the nest platform.

The finished osprey nesting platform sits on Domtar property on the west bank of the Wisconsin River.

Through the generous efforts of many people, including employees of the Rothschild Mill, the new platform will provide a suitable home for the young nesting pair and enable the highway crew to safely finish the second phase of the bridge work.

Nesting Platforms Help Protect Osprey Population

The work to relocate nesting ospreys is important, as Wisconsin’s osprey population continues to rebuild after declining drastically in the 1950s through the 1970s. At one point, there were fewer than 100 nesting pairs.

Once classified as endangered on the state’s natural heritage working list, ospreys have flourished in recent years, with 531 nesting pairs reported in 2013. They are now classified as being of special concern and are protected as a migratory bird.