Gift of Birdwatching: Reappearing osprey

An adult osprey perches watchfully. Photo by Ray Harden

This week’s Gift of Bird Watching is a conservation success story: the Osprey.

These eagle-sized, fish-eating birds of prey vanished from Iowa before European settlement. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources was instrumental in bringing them back to the landscape.

At present, a nesting pair is on a cell phone tower south and west of Woodland Hills Elementary School in West Des Moines. At least one young appears to be in the nest.

A ridge on north side of the school is best for viewing. Make sure to bring binoculars or a spotting scope as the birds are some distance away.

Mike Havlik is a natural in the Dallas County Conservation Department.


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