Several decades ago, it was nearly impossible to find an Osprey in Michigan— they were for many years on the state's list of threatened species. Biologists believe that the widespread use of the pesticide DDT nearly lead to their extinction.
But the chemical was banned in the 70's, and then years later in 2009 the Osprey was successfully reintroduced to the southern part of the state.
Now there are more than 200 Osprey nests identified across Michigan, and the folks at MI Birds, a partnership between the DNR and Audubon Society, are now working hard to ensure the continued safety.
They are asking for people of any experience level to sign up as volunteers to monitor those Osprey nests.
"They're still listed as a state species of special concern,” said Erin Rowan of MI Birds.
The work requires that volunteers make at least 3 visits throughout the season, staying at least 15 minutes each time.
FOX 17 ran a story back in May of 2018 after an Osprey nest was located on top of a cell phone tower in the middle of a gravel yard on North Park in Grand Rapids.
“We're starting to see this shift in how and where they're nesting. So a lot of these birds are now nesting on cell phone towers in more urban areas," Rowan explained Thursday.
We returned to that same nest Thursday afternoon— it's still there and there are currently at least 2 Osprey inside. One of them was flying around with a fish in their beak during our visit.
“A lot of those nests can be visible just along public roads, or at public parks,” Rowan said.
Once you sign up, a nest will be assigned to you, and you will be given a form with the different info you will be asked to collect.
"So you just need to go out there at your own schedule, at your own leisure… and then submit your data to the Michigan DNR at the end of the season,” Rowan said.
If you're interested in signing up, it's just a few minutes of your time over several months to help make sure these birds are around for generations to come.
Rowan telling FOX 17 Thursday morning, “it gives us hope that when we are able to come together and work together for bird conservation that they can bounce back."
Their reintroduction in 2009 was only possible after decades of collaborative work between the Michigan DNR, Great Lakes Audubon Society, Detroit Zoological Society, and the Clinton Metro Park Authority.