Environment SA News

Success for relocated Kangaroo Island osprey nest

Visitors may soon be able to spot osprey chicks near Bay of Shoals, on Kangaroo Island, with osprey spotted incubating eggs in a nest which was relocated earlier this year.

Success for relocated Kangaroo Island osprey nest

Now located on top of a pole, which sits 7.5 metres above the seabed, and about 5m above the water, the nest was repositioned from an old power pole in a parcel of land near an old quarry. The move was able to be undertaken, thanks to advice from coastal raptor experts and a collaborative effort from the Department for Environment and Water’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Coast and Marine Branch, and SA Power Networks.

While no chicks had hatched yet, NPWS staff were confident that they may soon appear.

It’s a hugely positive sign for this endangered species, and a validation that all of the careful and hard work undertaken earlier this year to relocate the nest was worthwhile.

Osprey nests have been successfully relocated previously in other areas across Australia, so we’re hopeful we will have the same, successful outcome here with this nest in Bay of Shoals.

In an effort to better conserve and recover ospreys in South Australia, a statewide census is currently underway to count their numbers and assess any population trends, which builds on the work the South Australian Government is already doing to support raptor conservation and recovery around South Australia.

The survey is the first time in South Australia that a complete census of both osprey and white-bellied sea eagles in a single season has been attempted and it will cover a significant proportion of the state’s coastline, via land and sea, giving ecologists a much more accurate picture of their numbers and help ensure better management of these beautiful birds.

As part of the census, two surveys will also be undertaken on Kangaroo Island, on the north and south coast in October to November.

Osprey are endangered in South Australia, with only eight active breeding pairs recorded on the island in the most recent surveys conducted in 2015-17.

During the careful operation to relocate the nest, it was removed from the power pole and placed onto a square platform where it was bolted and wired on, before being hoisted up and hitched into position on top of the pole. A perch above the nest is faced in an easterly direction, to counter for winds blowing in from the west.

The location was chosen to ensure the ospreys would remain undisturbed by people walking or driving near, or underneath the nest. The new location will still allow the opportunity for members of the public to monitor activities at the nest throughout the year without disturbing the birds.

Kangaroo Island National Parks and Wildlife Manager Mike Greig said NPWS staff have been monitoring the nest and based on bird behaviour it’s likely that egg-laying began in mid-August.

“The incubation time is expected to last 35-43 days, so hatching is imminent. The most recent observation showed the adult bird in the ‘incubation’ position,” Mr Greig said.

“We’d just like to remind visitors to the area, in particular boaters, to please not approach the nest, and to only observe the birds from the shore.

“It’s important that we give them lots of space, so that they can observe normal behaviour and so hatching is a success.”