Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Osprey nesting platforms raised at Indiana Dunes State Park

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The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and NIPSCO are working together to make Northwest Indiana a better place to raise a family. Well, a better place for ospreys to raise their families.

Last week, DNR and NIPSCO installed two 30-foot osprey nesting platforms at Indiana Dunes State Park. Both towers overlook wetlands and are viewable by the public.

Ospreys haven’t nested in Northwest Indiana in more than a century. Currently, there are fewer than 60 nesting pairs of this state-endangered bird of prey in the whole state.

In much of the eastern United States, ospreys favor artificial structures for nesting. Annual bird counts have shown that more than 100 osprey migrate over the Dunes each spring.

“The osprey is a fascinating bird to watch,” said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist at Indiana Dunes State Park.

“Their comeback is a symbol of the importance of wetlands, clean water, and a healthy environment. They’re a great bird to get visitors excited about wildlife and to learn more about the outdoors.”

The first nesting platform can be seen from the Trail 8 boardwalk, near Wilson Shelter.

The second can be seen from the park’s eastern boundary, along Kemil Road, north of U.S. Highway 12, in Beverly Shores.

Funding to build the platforms, which sit atop the 30-foot utility poles, came from the Friends of Indiana Dunes group.

 

Posted 4/2/2014