The OWSEM Team
During 1998 - 2002, many of us served as both staff and volunteers and assisted the MDNR with the Osprey Reintroduction Project of Southern Michigan at its location in Kensingon MetroPark near Milford, MI. In 2003, when the hacking program moved to a new location in southeast Michigan, OWSEM was formed by a diverse group of individuals, who continued their interest in assisting the MDNR in its efforts to restore a sustainable population of Ospreys to southern Michigan.
Having reached the goal of establishing thirty nesting pairs of Ospreys by 2020 (achieved in 2009), OWSEM volunteers continue to perform a variety of tasks. Of great importance is (1) identification of hacked birds from the Reintroduction Program that return to the area, as well as (2) the location of any other Ospreys, which may pass through or remain to nest in our region.
Once the season begins in early April, so does the excitement as the first returning birds are sighted. At this time, we begin recording field notes of Osprey behavior and activity. Close observations of active nests help to determine whether mating takes place, eggs are incubated, and if the hatching of young occurs. The number of chicks are recorded, and their progress and fledging dates are noted. These field observations also provide us the unique opportunity to educate visitors about the birds and the importance of the conservation of ecosystems necessary for Osprey survival. In addition, OWSEM provides educational programs to interested groups and during wildlife festivals.
Our volunteers may also assist wildlife biologists with banding activities, nest platform construction and repairs when needed, and much more.
Once the Ospreys leave us in September and fly south to their wintering grounds, we celebrate their successes and assess any future needs for them as well as for ourselves as an organization. OWSEM provides its volunteers with friendships and a camaraderie with those who share the same passion for these magnificent raptors
New volunteers are welcome and needed. As more birds establish nests in our area, our field activities will continue to expand, and the need for public awareness will increase. If you wish to take part in these exciting Osprey adventures and help this amazing species, we encourage you to join us. Click here for more information.