This spring, Allan Reishus hopes Moffat County’s ponds and streams are filled with even more fishers.
The airborne, migratory kind.
On Monday, Reishus helped install two 60-foot nests, built specifically for migratory ospreys.
Ospreys, which also are known as sea hawks, are fish-eating raptors with a six-foot wingspan.
With the two 60-foot poles in the ground, Reishus said he hopes Craig will become a popular landing spot for the birds, which typically pass through Colorado in the spring and fall.
“We’ve built some apartments for them,” Reishus said. “I started this summer, researching with the Division of Wildlife, biologists, U.S. Forest Service and raptor biologists. Remarkably, ospreys do fine on man-made structures.”
For Reishus, building nests isn’t something new.
“I’m a bird guy,” he said. “For quite a few years, I built structures for blue birds, kestrels and Canada Geese, as well. So I thought ‘We can do this.’”
But to complete the project or even begin, Reishus needed supplies and locations.
“A couple of things became apparent,” he said. “The first was we need some really long poles.”
In walked the Yampa Valley Electric Association, who donated two, 60-foot poles.
“The next thing was, we had to put them up,” he said. “I went to Yampa Valley Electric, and they told me to go to Cromer Contracting. I thought it was going to be thousands of dollars, but we talked to them, and they said, ‘We’ll do your project. No charge.’”
The next step was to find a place for the two nests.
“Ospreys like the water,” he said. “I talked to different landowners in the area, and I talked to Lou Wyman, and he was very excited about it. He has a great place there, right next to the river.”
Reishus said he only wanted two osprey nests to start with, saying more could be added if the birds choose Craig as a home.
“My other contact was Bill Mack, who has property here on the south side of town, just south of First Street,” he said. “I asked him if he would mind if we put up a 60-foot pole with a nest on top. I couldn’t have done it without the contributions of Bill Mack, Lou Wyman, Yampa Valley Electric Association and Cromer Contracting.”
As the osprey flies, the two nesting sites are three miles apart, Reishus said.
Staked on top of the pole is a 4-foot-by-4-foot plywood platform with dowels lining the edges.
“We weaved willow sticks through the dowels and wired it down,” Reishus said. “They like to nest in the tallest structure in the area. They definitely like to see water from their nest.”