By Sarah Ramirez, Teton Raptor Center Research Technician
It’s nearly impossible to drive around the Jackson area without seeing a wooden platform attached to a powerpole or freestanding. This summer, Teton Raptor Center will utilize citizen scientists to monitor over 60 osprey platforms throughout Teton County (excluding Grand Teton National Park’s, as they monitor their own). These platforms will be checked once a month, starting in April and finishing in August, and will determine occupancy by Canada Geese and nesting productivity of Osprey. Data collected in past years by Nature Mapping Jackson Hole volunteers has been integrated into the ongoing Teton Raptor Center-led project.
In the last few years, Canada Geese have been nesting in osprey platforms in Teton County. Since they migrate into the valley weeks, if not a month, before osprey do, they generally nest beforehand and take claim to these platforms. Canada Geese prefer to nest in open, unobstructed areas, and these platforms most likely give their eggs/goslings a better chance against mammalian and reptilian predators. Teton Raptor Center has developed a nesting platform that tilts downward while the geese are looking to nest, and are pulled flat once the Osprey return to the valley. With our monitoring activities, it is important to note how many and which nesting platforms are being used by Canada Geese, so we can correctly place tilted platforms in needed areas.
Keep an eye out for osprey nesting this season! Regardless of where you see Osprey, Nature Mapping their locations and behaviors can help us learn more about their needs and preferences, ensuring that they thrive here into the future.