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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ohio's Osprey Wintering in Brazil: What's He Up Too?

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- State wildlife biologists have been satellite-tracking an osprey that flew 3,500 miles last fall from Delaware County to an area of islands in the Amazon rainforest. At last report, the bird was near Tefe, Brazil, over-wintering where the living is easy. But that most recent tidbit was posted on a Web site dedicated to the osprey Jan. 11, though the Ohio Department of Natural Resources promised updates about the migratory bird of prey every two weeks. So fresh news is a bit overdue.

Ospreys live by eating fish. They resemble eagles and hawks, their cousins. A fascinating map tracks the Ohio migrant's flight down to Amazonia, including a bit about his crossing of the Andes Mountains HERE. The latest report says conditions where the bird settled below the Equator are ideal. Daytime temperatures are in the mid-90s. Last year, the transmitter showed the migrating Ohioan started heading back to Alum Creek State Park on March 7, about a month out.

A female FAILED to make it back and disappeared in late March over Venezuela. Wildlife biologists who tracked her are sure she died.

As for the male, we can only hope he is safe, and we can only hope the state gets around to posting some new reports about what he's been up to. This is one of Ohio's least known and most educational programs, a great learning tool.

Information about the Tefe area of Brazil is HERE. Alum Creek, the park in Delaware County where the bird spends its North American summers, is an area rich in Midwestern history. The Delaware Indians had a village where they grew corn, a huge 400-acre cropland that they were forced to give up when white settlers took over Ohio. Then, during the years before the Civil War, slaves on the Underground Railroad would wade through Alum Creek to avoid trackers on their trails. They followed the sycamore trees along the creekbank, trees whose white bark shimmered in the dark nights and created natural signposts for escapees on a flight to freedom.

There is information about Alum Creek HERE. Perhaps there will be news about the osprey in a day or two -- word is way overdue on the bird's Web site.

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