Osprey Nesting in Iowa

Six ospreys from Minnesota will call Iowa home for the near future at two locations as part of an ongoing effort to increase the population of the raptor in its native range.

Three ospreys were placed at Calvary Baptist Camp on the north shore of Clear Lake that will be released from their protective shelter, or hack box, in the coming days.

At Swan Lake, the Carroll County Conservation Board and volunteers with Saving Our Avian Resources will place three ospreys in the coming days.  Their release will occur in a few weeks.

Young ospreys can tear apart fish on their own at 42-days old and can be relocated to new habitat. Young will take flight when they are approximately 54-days old.  The adults will supplement their diet for a few weeks until self-sufficiency is achieved.

Ospreys return to nest where they learn to fly and to forage for fish when three or four years of age.

ALLETE, an energy company based in Duluth, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provided the ospreys.


Ospreys by the Numbers

  • The program began in 1997.
  • 253 have been released at 12 sites.
  • Iowa’s first successful nesting was in 2003.
  • 141 wild ospreys have been produced at 78 successful nests since 2003.
  • There have been 21 nest attempts reported in 2014.