Nest Platform Design for Osprey
The Osprey will readily build its nest on nest platforms designed especially for them. These platforms have become an important tool in reestablishing populations.
In some areas nest are placed almost exclusively on artificial structures. We recommend placing nesting platforms on poles in open water at least 100 feet from tall trees.
AVOID putting platforms up on land to reduce predation from mammalian predators like raccoons. If a platform must be erected on land, we recommend single pole structures with a platform on top. Single poles are easily outfitted with a predator guard (inverted cone, or a sleeve of aluminum flashing) that prevent raccoons from climbing into the nest. A raccoon has been seen climbing into a 30-foot high nest, so a guard is necessary on all land based platforms.
To an Osprey, an attractive nest site includes a nearby perch. The male often perches either on the nest, or within 20-40 feet.
A perch pole that rises at least 4 feet in diameter and placed nearby is ideal. Or, a 2x4 that rises 2 to 3 feet higher on both sides of the nest platform can be added to the platform.
Nest platforms and poles should be placed in or adjacent to shallow lakes, rivers, or wetlands, where Ospreys are regularly observed.
Although Ospreys have exhibited tolerance of disturbances, such as boat traffic on waterways, it is not recommended to place a nest platform in a very developed area. Adults may abandon the nest if the disturbance is too great, especially during the egg-laying period.
Even while the chicks are being fed by the parents, it is important to observe the nest from a safe distance that does not cause a reaction from the adults.