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December 12, 2017
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Osprey: from threatened to protected?

Looking down on this osprey as it passes below the summit at Sunrise Mountain in New Jersey, one can see its upper wings and back. Osprey start their migration south in September, and many will be counted at Sunrise Mountain’s raptor-counting station.
TRR photos by Scott Rando

September 28, 2016

A proposal was made before commissioners of the PA Game Commission (PGC) at its September 19th meeting to remove the osprey from the list of threatened species in Pennsylvania. The board of commissioners gave preliminary approval to an updated management plan for the osprey, and one of the items in the new plan is to change of the osprey’s status from threatened to protected. If the plan is fully adopted, the board will also heighten penalties for anyone unlawfully killing an osprey; this would be similar to the penalties adopted after the bald eagle listed as a protected species in 2014.

The board noted that the osprey has met objectives in the existing plan, which called for at least 50 nesting pairs with a steady or increasing population, and 10 nesting pairs each in four watersheds. The 2016 nesting season saw all of these goals realized.

Under the status of protected species, the osprey would still be protected by state statues as well as under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The board’s new plan would raise the penalty for individuals convicted of killing an osprey, calling for a $2,500 replacement cost, a significant increase over the $200 that would ordinarily be assessed for a protected species replacement cost.

Another part of the osprey management plan is for the PGC to continue to monitor osprey nests and implement measures to prevent possible regression of this species back to threatened or endangered status.