STATE: NC Wildlife Federation live webcam offers view of osprey nesting on Lake Norman – The Stanly News & Press

Wildlife and nature enthusiasts around the world can watch the live cam of Reuben and Cherise from the NC Wildlife Federationa pair of beloved ospreys that left their wintering grounds and returned to their nesting platform on Lake Norman this week.

“It looks like our famous feathered friends will be very busy as they rebuild their nest in preparation for mating and laying eggs this spring,” said NCWF CEO Tim Gestwicki. “The cameras have night vision, so wildlife lovers can tune in anytime for a bird’s eye view of the breeding and nesting process of these fascinating birds. This is a unique opportunity for people to watch ospreys in their natural habitat. »

View live osprey webcam at https://ncwf.org/.

A grant from the Catawba-Wateree Habitat Improvement Program and NCWF members and individual donors funded the installation of a solar-powered video camera for Reuben and Charise’s nesting platform. The NCWF Osprey Nesting Camera, along with its heron Nesting Camera, have reached audiences around the world with millions of views.

Ospreys are prevalent along the 225-mile-long Catawba River from western North Carolina to South Carolina, but that hasn’t always been the case. As recently as the early 1980s, osprey populations on the Catawba River were nonexistent or minimal, primarily due to the widespread use of the eggshell-weakening pesticide DDT.

Their numbers have increased dramatically due to a concerted effort to reintroduce osprey populations. Previously, the birds built nests in Lake Norman atop old navigation beacons that were precarious and dangerous for eggs and chicks during heavy summer storms.

Volunteers from NCWF, Lake Norman Wildlife Conservators and Piedmont Region Wildlife Stewards replaced the markers with 30-foot poles attached to metal platforms and deployed by barge. Rigs provide nesting sites on large open water bodies and healthy prey options, mostly live fish. The platforms’ overhead height attracts ospreys while protecting them from predators like black snakes and raccoons.

“Ospreys catch fish in the water using their long, hooked talons. An osprey can dive so forcefully into the water that it will be completely submerged,” Gestwicki said. “When it brings in its prey at the nest, an osprey will arrange the fish so that it faces vertically with its head forward.Occasionally they will catch and eat a snake, eel, or even a frog.

Additional platforms are installed in James Lake, Mountain Island Lake, Wylie Lake and Norman Lake – all reservoirs of the Catawba River. Almost all platforms support Osprey nesting year after year. The young birds fledge in the summer and often migrate to Central and South America in the fall (females usually depart about a month before the males), and they return to their nesting grounds each March.

“Supporting access to North Carolina’s wild places and opportunities to enjoy them is a core part of our organization,” Gestwicki said. “Lake Norman’s thriving osprey population is a testament to how we can work together for conservation in North Carolina and have a lasting impact on wildlife and habitat for generations to come.”

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