Ospreys make their return to Milford platform nests

Ospreys have returned to the nesting platforms along the Indian River in Milford.

Ospreys have returned to the nesting platforms along the Indian River in Milford.

Contributed photo

MILFORD — With the third week of March comes the return of Milford’s ospreys.

The ospreys have returned to the nesting platforms along the Indian River in Milford, according to Tim Chaucer, Director of Marine Biology, Bird Id, and Archaeology Camps of the Milford Marine Institute, Inc.

Chaucer said in 1985 the Milford Marine Institute invited DEP (now known as DEEP) representative Greg Chasko to inspect the Indian River to evaluate the likelihood that ospreys would return to manmade platforms if they were raised in the salt marshes along the Indian River (commonly called Gulf Pond) in Milford.

“He gave the go ahead and platforms were installed,” Chaucer said.

In 1989, Chaucer said the 350th anniversary year of the founding of Milford, observers saw ospreys on the platforms, but scared away when cannon booms from the HMS Rose and USS Providence exchanged blank fire off Milford Harbor to commemorate the event.

Ospreys, nicknamed Ossie and Harriet, returned to nest the next year and hatched three chicks, Chaucer said. The birds have continued to return every year since 1990 from the southern U.S. and Central America, where they winter, to the platforms where they build large nests made of sticks. Dozens of chicks have hatched successfully since 1990 and presumably 2022 will be no exception.

The Milford Marine Institute chose the osprey as its logo in 1983 because the osprey, a fish-eating hawk, best links the avian world with the marine world, he said.

This is the 39th year the institute has operated the marine, bird, and Native American camps in conjunction with the Milford Recreation Department.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com