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Baling Twine Kills Osprey By DorinDa TrouTman, rmr STaff WriTer


Osprey became endangered in the 1960s after dying off from pesticide poisoning, but have made a tremendous comeback in the West since the poisons were banned. Now Osprey are being threatened by another man-made product – polypropylene (plastic) baling twine.


Osprey, the large, noisy fish-eating


hawks common wherever there are rivers, ponds or lakes in the West are attracted to baling twine for nest construction, and it is killing them. Osprey pick up winter-softened, natural material such as old cattail or corn stalks for nest lining, and baling twine may seem like a good substitute. One nest that was recently blown down by high winds near Missoula, Montana, contained a quarter mile of baling twine.


Heiko Langner, University of


Montana geosciences biologist with the Raptor View Research Center has been


studying Osprey and has placed webcams in three nests in Western Montana. His research indicates about 15% of Osprey in western Montana are dying after being entangled in baling twine.


One of


Langners’ webcams is on the Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site near Deer Lodge, Montana, where all ranching activities are done traditionally. Langner explains that even though the Park Service employees and volunteers are very diligent in picking up baling twine on the ranch, the Osprey pair


Photographer Jana Thompson found this entangled dead Osprey in December in Sublette County, Wyoming. She wrote that since Osprey migrate in late October or early November this bird must have been entangled long enough to starve. Photo by Thompson Photography of Spearfish, SD.


nesting there still find it in the area and use it with their nest building. Nestlings become entangled in the


twine, cutting off their circulation as they grow, or entrapping them and


continued...


26 ROCKY MOUNTAIN RIDER • MAY 2011


www.rockymountainrider.com


RMR


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