C09 is a 1999 “hacked” Osprey who was released as a fledgling at Kensington MetroPark as part of the Osprey Reintroduction Program of Southern Michigan. He was one of many four to five week old chicks who were captured between 1998 and 2002 from northern Michigan nests and raised in the Hack Tower on Wildwing Lake, near the Nature Center. The hope was that once they were sexually mature, these male birds would return to the Kensington MetroPark area, from which they fledged, and would begin raising young of their own. In 2001, Ospreys began arriving in the area, but none nested. However, in 2002, history was made as C09 returned and, along with his mate, produced the first chick known to hatch in Southern Michigan in decades. Although Bald Eagles were already beginning to re-populate areas of lower Michigan after the era of DDT, that was not the case for Ospreys. They needed a boost from Man to get that job done, and, hence, the restoration project was launched. And, from 2002 to 2009, C09 played a huge role in the success of the program, raising two or three fledglings every year. This year he has fathered three chicks. He has become a very special friend.
In 2010, when C09 and his mate returned from their wintering grounds, their attempt at nesting on Wildwing Lake didn’t go as planned. The weather was gorgeous, and Spring Break and Easter vacation were in full swing. Winter-weary folks were out in full-force walking the trails that pass close to the platform that C09 and his mate had chosen that year. Eager photographers lined up along the shore, anxious to capture that perfect shot. Although C09 was more tolerant of human disturbance, his “lady” did not accept all of the commotion. She abandoned the location. Finally, when C09’s desperate attempts to remove a goose from a second, nearby platform failed, he, too, disappeared.
Although he was seen flying over Wildwing Lake in 2010 and again in 2011, every search for his new nest failed. There were no sightings after that until, on 27 June 2013, Holly March, Marketing Assistant at Controlled Dehumidification in Brighton Township contacted OWSEM to report that a pair of Ospreys was nesting on a water tower near her workplace. She mentioned that they had been on that tower for at least a couple of years. Wow!! Could this be where C09 relocated? This spot is only a stone’s throw from Wildwing Lake!!
On the morning of Sunday 30 June 2013, OWSEM visited the site and viewed the nest from several different angles. All saw enough to confirm the C09 and his mate were there raising three chicks! Using high power scopes, Barb Jensen and Stevie spotted the distinctive hacking band which read C09, and Jim Kortge, Jim Ridley, and Bugsy Watson provided the photographic proof! Eureka!!
It’s time to celebrate a long lost buddy’s re-appearance, and it’s comforting to know that he and his family are literally living “just around the corner.”