PPL biologists in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Game Commission will install an osprey platform at the Owl Creek Reservoir, Tamaqua, on Tuesday, February 14 at 3:30 PM. The PPL employees helping to install the pole are volunteering their time and an eagle scout constructed the platform base.
The osprey is an species of conservation concern in Pennsylvania, although its numbers have improved dramatically in recent years. Providing manmade nesting platforms helps to improve nesting success and also keeps ospreys from building nests atop utility poles.
The pole will be located in the field near the lower reservoir located between the two access roads. This spot was selected by Pennsylvania Game Commission bird biologists because it can offer the birds a clear view of the water and visitors a clear view of a nest.
About the bird
The osprey is a very large bird, distinctive among raptors for its unique adaptations that allow it to survive almost entirely on a diet of live fish. For example, the osprey has a reversible outer toe that allows it to grip with two toes in front and two behind, barbed pads on its feet to help hold slippery fish, and has the ability to dive into water at high speeds.
A marked kink in its wings makes the species easy to identify: look for an M-shape as it soars overhead. When perched, it is the only large North American raptor with a broad, unmarked patch of white on its belly, and it sports a thick, dark-brown eye stripe.
Ospreys are long-distance migrants, traveling to Central and South America each autumn, but returning to nest in early March. With any luck, our Valentine’s Day platform will attract a pair.
Owl Creek Recreation Area
The Owl Creek Recreation Area is a 900-acre preserve operated by the Owl Creek Reservoir Commission and owned by the Tamaqua Borough. The outdoors pace features a lower reservoir surrounded by a gravel road for walking or biking, and an upper reservoir, both with boat launch and trails throughout. In November 2009, a majority of Tamaqua residents voted by referendum to save the dams, which at the time were non-compliant. Following a $5 million rehabilitation project, the recreation area reopened in 2013. Other features include playground, camping area, pavilion and fire pit, and kayak access.
To visit the platform, turn left onto Owl Creek Road half a mile south of Tamaqua. Drive approximately two miles to the reservoir parking area on the right. Park and walk down the stone and gravel road and turn left.
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