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Affordable Bird Housing
Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street

Osprey couples started out as scrappy squatters inside the Del Mar Fairgrounds, building their nests on the fairgrounds light poles a few years ago. When the poles were removed, two new nesting platforms were built for the birds who relocated locally onto these custom homes of their own. During the restoration of the wetlands the platforms were moved to a new location. The birds followed. Ospreys now nest in Del Mar and have successfully raised families of at least two chicks each season since 2014.

You can see for yourself. Take the Coast to Crest Trail from the San Andres trail head off Via de la Valle west about one mile to the other side of the freeway. The platforms are high up on wood poles between the trail and the driving range. Or you can start at Jimmy Durante trail head and go east.

Osprey Offspring
Ed Mirsky | Hoska Drive

By the 1970s Ospreys (a.k.a. Fish Hawk) nearly disappeared from North America because pesticides (DDT), sprayed on agricultural fields, ran into streams and lakes and poisoned fish. Once the application of DDT was regulated, Ospreys recolonized San Diego County. They were first recorded as a breeding species in 1997. The San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count began in 2010, and recorded a pair of Osprey at the lagoon. Two or more individuals were recorded every month since. They remain an uncommon breeding species in San Diego Co. A few of these birds remain through the year. The remaining birds are joined by migrants in spring and fall.

Female Ospreys can weigh 3.5 pounds and can be 2-feet long with a wingspan of 6 feet. Males are smaller than females. They catch their underwater prey (up to 2 pounds) with their long talons by diving, sometimes from a height of 100 feet. Once caught, the prey is maneuvered so that its head is pointed
forward for optimal aerodynamics.
Photos © Ginni Kitchen,
a volunteer at the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Click to enlarge.

Female Osprey—she’s sporting a mottled brown necklace—feeding two chicks in the nest at the San Dieguito Lagoon. They built the nest on the provided nesting platforms adjacent to Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Click to enlarge.

Osprey parents feed their young fresh sashimi
for breakfast. That’s dad with the fish. Apparently,
it’s his turn to feed them.

Click to enlarge.

Three juveniles fledged. A few days after this picture
was taken the juveniles were flying over the San
Dieguito River near the nest.
Click to enlarge.


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