New Home for Ospreys on Conserved Property

If you have ever seen an Osprey or Golden Eagle roosting atop a utility pole; you can easily understand how risky the chance of electrocution is when these big birds take to the air and fly to their next destination. Blake Johnson, son of GVLT conservation easement landowners Keith and Betsy Johnson, was worried about this too when he noticed that multiple eagles and osprey could be seen roosting on overhead utility poles and other high points in the vicinity of their ranch on the shores of Hebgen Lake. With that risk in mind and out of respect for these majestic birds of prey, Blake decided to install an osprey nesting platform on the ranch to give them a place to roost and possibly nest in future years. Blake, in partnership with other scouts in his troop and with material donations from a local hardware store and utility company in West Yellowstone planned out the entire project from start to finish.

In early August, Blake, an Eagle Scout in training, assembled his crew and launched canoes from the ranch dock to deliver materials to the work site just off shore. Over the next couple of days, the crew trudged through tall vegetation to the worksite, dug multiple test holes, swatted mosquitos, installed the pole and nest platform, filled in the holes, swatted more mosquitos, and then watched multiple eagles and osprey begin to circle the nest platform as they paddled their canoes back across the lake to shore. All in all, the project was a success and Blake had the chance to personally engage in a project that will reap generations of benefit to local osprey and eagles that frequent Hebgen Lake each year. Congrats to Blake and his crew on a job well done!

For more information about ospreys, check out the Montana Osprey Project at University of Montana.