Rebounding osprey population evident in Shuswap

Rebounding osprey population evident in Shuswap

Growth attributed to nesting platforms and ban on the use of DDT

Nested around the shore of Shuswap Lake or in the city on top of hydro poles, osprey have been a common sight this summer in Salmon Arm.

Ed McDonald, the president of the Shuswap Naturalists, said he has seen the number of the birds swell in the Salmon Arm bay area.

Although osprey can be seen along the shores of many fish-bearing lakes and streams, this was not always the case.

McDonald said before the widely-used insecticide DDT was banned in the early 1970s, populations of osprey and other birds were under threat. The chemical thinned bird eggs, often killing the embryo inside and leading to a population crash of ospreys, eagles and other species.

Read More: Osprey nest in downtown Salmon Arm will remain until new year

Read More: Teamwork brings injured South Okanagan osprey back to its nest

Since the ban, osprey populations have been steadily rising. That growth trend became sharper when BC Hydro crews began installing nesting platforms and taking steps to stop the birds from being electrocuted in the 1990s. McDonald praised the work BC Hydro crews do to build the platforms either on or near the power poles when ospreys are seen trying to establish a nest in the area. He also noted that ospreys are sometimes killed by the power lines, including one during the Roots and Blues Festival.

McDonald said the nests on the man-made platforms are less likely to be tipped over by windstorms than those in trees, but he noted that one of osprey nests near his home in Sunnybrae is in a large mature fir tree.

Availability of prey is what draws the osprey to the Shuswap. McDonald said they feed on young trout and salmon, but more frequently on the invasive carp which moved into the Shuswap from the Okanagan in the 1920s.

The relatively slow-swimming carp are also a favoured prey for river otters which also have a healthy population in the Shuswap according to McDonald.

Read More: Drones reported to be disturbing bird sanctuary

Read More: Hydro crews in B.C. help move ospreys evicted from nest

McDonald said a strong osprey population along the shores of Shuswap Lake is unlikely to have a negative impact on other species. Ospreys live almost exclusively on fish, meaning they are not competing for prey with other birds, such as the short-eared owls that make their winter hunting grounds in the Salmon River delta targeting mice and voles. Eagle populations are also unlikely to be negatively affected as the larger birds, which are not as keen fishers, are sometimes seen stealing ospreys’ catches.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Rebounding osprey population evident in Shuswap

Just Posted

The wildfire season in the Okanagan Valley region has been approached with greater apprehension and concern from area residents since the historic Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003. That fire burned 25,600 hectares, forced evacuations in Kelowna and Naramata impacting more than 33,000 people, destroyed 238 homes, and claimed 12 wooden trestles and damaged two other steel trestles in Myra Canyon. (File photo)
Ominous wildfire outlook if June rains don’t return to Okanagan

Dry spring is fueling potential for busy wildfire season in July and August

Joe Rich residents want logging operations in the area to stop for now until they get more clarity on slope stability and risks to the Mission Creek watershed. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Joe Rich logging poses watershed risk: residents

Area residents want the logging to stop in the area for the time being

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

An algal bloom on Wood Lake has residents concerned for the body of water's health. (Wendy Innes-Shaw)
‘Wood Lake looks seriously unwell’: Lake Country residents

Algal bloom appears to be getting worse, and stinky

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The real estate market is hot in Vernon, and across the Okanagan. (John Dent photo)
North Okanagan home prices, demand continue to build

Single family home volumes up 200 per cent, worth average $647,000

A wildfire southeast of Vernon has been added to the BC Wildfire dashboard Friday, May 14, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire sparks southeast of Vernon

The fire appears to be in a remote area east of Aberdeen Lake

Most Read