Spaulding Outdoors by Jack Spaulding
A 14-year-old osprey, one of the original ospreys brought to Indiana in 2003 as part of a restoration program, is still nesting successfully at Patoka Lake. Wildlife photographer Stuart Forsythe snapped the osprey at Patoka Lake on July 5. The bird was on a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) constructed nesting platform near Jackson Creek.
Forsythe’s image included the bird’s leg band identification number. He sent the images to DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife biologists, who used the numbers to determine that the bird arrived in Indiana in 2003 from Newport News, Va. Biologists brought the osprey and 95 others to Indiana from 2003-06 for a restoration program which “hacked” or released young ospreys at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, Minnehaha Fish & Wildlife Area, Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area and Patoka Lake. Forsythe’s photo also showed a juvenile osprey, proving the banded bird had successfully raised offspring this year. Ospreys begin breeding in late March and nest until early August. An average clutch includes three eggs, which hatch in about a month. Then, parents care for the chicks for 4.5 months until they become independent.
“This parent will probably follow around and feed the juvenile until autumn, when the juvenile is able to hunt on its own,” said DNR non-game bird biologist Allisyn-Marie Gillet.
DNR officials are considering removing the osprey from the state endangered species list because the restoration has been so successful. In 2016, 64 osprey pairs were documented, with 11 new nests found in 16 counties. Fayette County had a nest site identified for the first time in 2016.
The osprey reintroduction program was one of several endangered species restoration projects initiated by DNR wildlife diversity staff. The project and ongoing research would not be possible without donations to the Indiana Nongame Fund, the main funding source of all non-game and endangered species research and management.
Hoosiers can help by donating a portion of their tax return to the fund or by donating online. For every $5 donated to the Nongame Fund, another $9 is awarded through federal grants. “Donate $5, wildlife gets $14,” Gillet said. “It’s a win-win.” Individuals may donate online at www.endangeredwildlife. IN.gov and more information on the Indiana Nongame Fund is at www.wildlife.IN.gov/3316.htm State ORV helmet law The new off-road vehicle (ORV) helmet law in Indiana went into effect on July 1. Unfortunately, I still see young ORV operators and riders helmetless. As of July 1, state law requires children under the age of 18 to wear an approved helmet when riding any ORV on public or private property in Indiana, including Interlake and Redbird state recreation areas.
Under the new law, owners of ORVs who allow children younger than age 18 to ride their vehicles on public or private property without wearing an approved helmet can be charged with a Class C infraction, which carries a maximum penalty of $500.
“Approved helmets” are those meeting U.S. Department of Transportation standards. The new law does not affect the riders of snowmobiles, which do not fall under the legal definition of ORV, per Indiana Code 14-8-2-185.
Expand campfire cooking skills There’s nothing wrong with just roasting hot dogs and marshmallows; however, if you want to add a little more dazzle to your next campfire meal, you’ll want to check out one of Monroe Lake’s Campfire Cooking Workshops this fall. The workshops teach different techniques and recipes for cooking with an open wood-burning campfire. Participants work together to prepare an entire meal, complete with sides, bread and dessert. Each fall workshop features a different menu.
The workshops are limited to eight people, ages 10 and up (children must be accompanied by a registered adult). Each session is $20 per person and takes place at Paynetown State Recreation Area, 4850 S. State Road 446 in Bloomington. The workshops are:
•Sept. 24 at 3:30 p.m.; register at http://bit.ly/campfirecookingsep2017 by Sept. 18
•Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m.; register online by Oct. 6 For questions, contact Jill Vance, Monroe Lake interpretive naturalist, at jvance@dnr.IN.gov or 812-837-9967.
Murphey Lake closes for waterfowl hunting
J.C. Murphey Lake at Willow Slough Fish & Wildlife Area in Morocco will be closed to boating, fishing and other activities through Sept. 24, and again from Oct. 9-Feb. 11, 2018. The closures are to allow for waterfowl hunting.
In past years, the lake has closed starting Labor Day weekend for the beginning of teal season. This year, the season was pushed back to better coordinate with the anticipated migration. As a result, the lake was open to the public through Labor Day weekend.
If conditions are unfavorable for waterfowl hunting, then property staff may grant access for fishing and other recreation. Individuals interested in using the property may monitor the wooden signs along the entrance road and in the picnic area to see what lake activities are being allowed on any given day.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments may contact Jack Spaulding by email at firstname.lastname@example.org