Be on the lookout for Rogue ospreys

By Holly Hertel, Reference Librarian, Riverside Campus

Did you know that the osprey is your college mascot? And did you further know that ospreys live in the Rogue Valley? I love ospreys!

Not a lot of people in this valley realize that ospreys live here during the summer and fall and so never look for them.

If you haven’t seen an osprey, but would like to, it’s not a hard thing to do. They are as big as an eagle, but have very distinctive markings that make them a special sighting (see pics).

Image of an osprey in a nest, an osprey flying, and a platform where an osprey can build a nest.
ODFW photos

The best way to find ospreys are on their nests. Folks out at the Table Rock Campus are in luck, because there’s a nest platform near your campus. It’s next to the Rogue River and easy to see from Table Rock Road. Turn into TouVelle State Park, park, and look to your right over the trees.

The nest platform is at the top of an electric pole (see pic). It was built there specifically for ospreys to use. It’s a metal square at the very top and hopefully covered with lots of sticks. Ospreys arrive in Oregon and start building their nests during April or early May.

There’re two more nest sites that are easy to find. One is along Modoc Road almost a mile east of Upper Table Rock Trail. This power pole sticks out like a sore thumb on the north side of the road. To find the third nest, drive a little further until you hit Highway 62, turn left and you’ll see it just north of the turn to Butte Falls. This one is right next to a pond on the east side of the highway.

Osprey couples mate for life and return to the same nest site each year. They will have from one to four eggs in their yearly clutch. When the young are ready for their first migratory flight, they all leave together right around September, usually going to Mexico to enjoy the warmth.

For me, there’s nothing like seeing marvelous creatures in the (semi-)wild. And ospreys are easy to see. I check TouVelle State Park every time I take a load to BioMass. I hope you enjoy these wonderful birds, too.