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Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink

11.20.14

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Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink

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  • An osprey in flight.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • Overlooking the shipyards on Swan Island from Mocks Crest Property in North Portland.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • An osprey hovers for its catch.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the Columbia River Gorge.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • An osprey along Idaho's Selway River.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • Canoeing along Lower Salmon Creek outside of Portland.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
  • Osprey are a common sight from Detroit Lake.- Osprey, a Species Returned from the Brink
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In 1976, wildlife monitors counted 13 breeding pairs of osprey along Oregon's Willamette River. In 2008, the osprey count was 275 breeding pairs. The use of DDT, a pesticide, was the prime cause for the osprey's decline. With the ban of DDT in 1972, they began to return. 

Today osprey can be found across wide swaths of the U.S. West. They are known to live and nest near cities and in industrial areas near water. They hover above lakes, rivers and streams to find fish, and then dive underwater to catch their prey. The behavior is a rarity for raptors, and an absolute joy to watch. Many an outdoor enthusiast has been surprised by a loud splash followed by the large brown and white bird emerging with a fish in its talons.

Oregon Field Guide tells the story of osprey recovery in this week's segment, which you can watch in the slideshow above. See the birds and their hatchlings as they nest in an industrial work site on Portland's Swan Island. The featured adventures below are places where you can go near Portland to get up close views of osprey nesting and hunting.

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Published in collaboration with Oregon Field Guide

Oregon Field Guide is OPB's long-running local weekly TV series. The program covers natural resources, ecological issues, outdoor recreation and travel destinations across the Northwest region. This award-winning show is one of the most-watched local productions in the public broadcasting system.

Oregon Field Guide also extends the work it does in the field for the television series across radio and the Web, providing a greater degree of coverage.

Oregon Field Guide airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays.

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