Until about five years ago, "Osprey" was a foreign term for most Iowans. Recently, the fish-eating bird of prey has made its way back to the Hawkeye State.
But, not without help from folks at the Dickinson County Nature Center.
Dickinson County Naturalist, Charles Vigdal, has been helping Osprey return to Iowa for the past five years. This involved retrieving the birds from northern Minnesota, and raising them until they were ready for release.
But that's not necessary anymore.
"Now they're wildly successful. I don't know how many nesting pairs we have in Iowa, but there's a lot, and it's growing every year and that's because of the reintroduction programs we've had," said Vigdal.
Though the nature center has stopped their official program, they have not forgotten about the birds. In March of 2013, Vigdal helped put up a solar-powered camera to watch the Osprey grow and develop.
"It's really fun to watch them, and they're kind of like my babies. When there's a storm I get kind of nervous," said Vigdal.
The Osprey cam has allowed locals to watch the three baby birds from hatching to fledging, and the camera is something new for tourists.
"The first thing I do is to talk to them about the Ospreys, because I think it's fairly unique and it seems to peak their interest immediately," Vigdal said.
Vigdal says around 350 people check in on the Osprey cam everyday.
"I think it's kind of like watching a family grow up. I do turn them on a couple times day," said Paul Arnold, Nature Center Volunteer.
"It's funny, you can watch the mom she'll go into another tree and kind of call to them and tell them 'hey come on let's go'."
The baby osprey hatched from the nest on June 1st. They need about 55 days to mature, which means they'll be ready to leave the nest any day now. Like teenagers, once they get a driving permit, they don't stay in the nest for very long.
Though the current baby Osprey may be gone soon, the cam will continue to capture future Osprey families.
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