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SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.

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Increasing Osprey Population Inspiring Iowans to Work for Clean Water

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Thursday, July 28, 2016   

BOONE, Iowa – The osprey, a fish-eating bird of prey, was once common in Iowa, but populations dwindled with the arrival of European settlers.

Close to a half-dozen 40-day-old osprey chicks will be introduced at sites in Clear Lake and Swan Lake this week.

They were collected from nests in northern Minnesota where the population is much more established.

Pat Schlarbaum, a wildlife diversity technician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says because the birds live near water, Iowans will want to continue with cleanup efforts.

"These birds inspire people,” he states. “They're water-loving creatures. We're hoping that they can guide us to do more, guide us to do better, as people realize that having the ospreys are a welcome addition to our summer activities around the lakes and ponds and rivers."

DNR experts will continue looking after the young birds in their new homes until they're able to fly on their own in a couple of weeks.

Schlarbaum says hearing and seeing these raptors dive-bomb for a meal is something worth seeking out.

"The whole phenomena of watching this bird just see a fish near the surface and just go down and take it, is nothing short of remarkable,” he points out. “It's almost hard to do the math, that a four-pound bird could carry off a two-pound fish."

There have been 24 attempts at establishing osprey nests throughout the state, with a few dozen birds now spending the summer months in Iowa before migrating to South America for the winter and later returning.

As far as how many of the birds could one day live in the state, Schlarbaum says the sky's the limit.

"As long as our waters improve, as long as there's fish,” he states. “We were uncertain about how many bald eagles we'd have in Iowa, and now we're at more than 400 nesting pairs of eagles, and that population's still growing."

There's even an online Osprey Cam with live video of a nest located on the Wells Fargo campus in West Des Moines.





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