Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lake of the Ozarks Nesting Platform

Maybe this will be the year the Bald Eagles will use the nesting platform at Lake Ozark’s Bagnell Dam.
The Osage River just below the Dam
The nest platform was designed and built by Eagle Scout candidates and their team of helpers.  World Bird Sanctuary worked in conjunction with Ameren Missouri to have the Eagle nest platforms installed just below the dam.  The Eagles congregate there to catch fish when the power company has the gate of the dam open and water is going through. Fish travel through, too. The Bald Eagles swoop in just below the Dam to grab the fish with their black talons.
We started across the dam at daybreak
We checked the nesting platform at daybreak on our way to my favorite breakfast place called Stewart's.  Stewart's is known for great food and big breakfasts at reasonable prices. The waitresses are always friendly and ask us which of our eagles we brought with us for this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Eagle Days event.

WBS volunteers Lynnette McCurdy and Mike Cerutti were with me.
We were surprised to see Vultures on the Eagle Nesting platform
We checked the Eagle nest platform after we drove over the dam, hoping to see eagles,
but to our surprise we saw Vultures!  Remember, this was daybreak and the Vultures looked lethargic, like they had been there all night.  Upon taking a closer look at the Vultures and counting the birds, we counted seven Vultures that had apparently slept on the Eagle Nest platform.  And on even closer examination of the birds, five were Turkey Vultures and two were Black Vultures.  I was very excited by the Black Vultures.  Even after all these years I still get excited by sightings of Black Vultures in Missouri!

Turkey Vultures are the main Vulture we see in the St. Louis Area.  Black Vultures are found farther south in Missouri and the Southeastern United States.

Anyway it was exciting to see birds using the nest platform, even if they were vultures just using the high platform as a place to spend the night and sleep.

Maybe this year the Bald Eagles will add sticks to the platform and use the nest. Could this be the year?  I hope so.

Submitted by Michael Zieloski, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

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