Liquid News

Osprey Chick Hatches at San Joaquin Marsh Nesting Platform

More than 200 species of birds have been sighted at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, including many raptors, such as the osprey. 

Now for the first time, an osprey pair has hatched a chick in a nest they constructed in a 40-foot tall nesting platform installed last summer.  The platform is located on a peninsula in one of the marsh’s ponds, which gives the birds the illusion of being surrounded by water, but also allows access to maintenance crews. Currently, the trail to the platform is not accessible to the public, but the birds may be best viewed from adjacent trails.

IRWD installed the platform at the request of the Sea and Sage Audubon Society, which wanted it modeled after the successful platform at Newport Back Bay’s Shellmaker Island.

“In January, we observed the nesting pair gathering material for the nest,” said Jason Tran, wetlands specialist for IRWD. “The chick hatched in early May.”

Interestingly enough, the chick’s mother was born in 2008 at the Shellmaker Island platform. She was tracked to that site by leg bands biologists at Shellmaker’s Marine Science Center had placed on her. Experts say female ospreys usually don’t nest until they are at least three years old.

In June, Sea and Sage held a banding event at the marsh. Local raptor biologist Pete Bloom and raptor expert Scott Thomas removed the chick from the nest and put bands on its legs then returned it to the nest.

Recently, the chick flew from the nest for the first time. It is still dependent on the parents for food, so it frequently returns to the nest.

It is estimated that osprey nests had not been reported in Orange County for more than 70 years, until the platform at Shellmaker Island was built four years ago. Since then, there have been several successful nests there. It is hoped that the platform at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary will see many more osprey chicks hatched there in the future.

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