An incredible raptor!
Osprey are large raptors that live in Silver City and around Pactola during the
summer.  These birds measure 23" in length with a 63" wingspan. It is brown
on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts,
with a black eye patch and wings.  Ospreys are superb fishers and indeed eat
little else—fish make up some 99 percent of their diet. Because of this
appetite, these birds can be found near ponds, rivers, lakes, and coastal
waterways around the world. Ospreys hunt by diving to the water's surface
from some 30 to 100 feet up. They have gripping pads on their feet to help
them pluck fish from the water with their curved claws and carry them for
great distances. In flight, ospreys will orient the fish headfirst to ease wind
resistance.   Osprey mate for life and their nest normally consists of three
eggs that hatch at different times.
Black Hills Power installing new nest for Osprey (May 13, 2011)
Moving nest from electrical pole to new custom made nest (May 13, 2011)
account of the bird taking a trout from the Creek: "I saw the bird hover over Rapid Creek just west of the bridge. Once it had sighted
a trout, it folded its wings tightly and descended quickly feet first onto the water. To my surprise, I could see a twelve inch trout on its
talons splashing in the water.  The bird hesitated as it got carried along the quick spring current and after two or three tries it was
able to lift itself off the water with its prey.   Once it was two or three feet off the water, the weight off the fish dragged it down but
it managed to stay aloft.  It circled around and I saw it shake the water off its plumage in a quick motion.  It was exhilarating."

In the spring of 2011, a young Osprey pair started building a nest on the power pole next to the bridge in Silver City.  Many more
sticks ended up in the ground then on the actual nest, but the pair continued the construction for a couple of weeks.  We soon
realized that Black Hills Power could not allow the birds to nest there because of the risk of fire and electrocution.   With the
collaboration of the Wildlife Biologist for the BHNF, the biologist for GF&P, and Black Hills Power, an effort was mounted locally to
build a platform for this osprey pair.  Being that Osprey are migratory birds, a special permit was required from the Federal
Department  of Fish & Wildlife to be able to move the nest.  On May 13, 2011 a new pole was installed with a custom platform was
erected.  The old nest was moved over to the new platform.  Later that evening to the delight of all involved, the osprey landed on its
new nest. (read newspaper article
page 1, page 2)
Picture Gallery
Osprey landing on its new nest - May 13, 2011
Osprey on the nest in Silver City
RCJ Article on Osprey Nest - Page 2
RCJ article on Osprey Nest - May 2011
June 1, 2011 Female osprey landing on nest with fish.
June 1, 2011 - Male (whiter
chest) is feeeding on prey.  
Female is landing on nest
after getting a fish from the

April 7, 2015 - Right on schedule the pair is seen at the nest together. Welcome back!
May 6, 2015 - Egg laid.
May 7, 2015 - Two more eggs laid
May 8, 2015 - Incubation Starts
May 9, 2015 - Spring snow storm dumps 16" of snow.  Nest is buried in snow.
June 21, 2015 - Eggs start to hatch
June 23, 2015 - Three chicks confirmed on nest and feeding

June 15 - Chicks are doing well. Third egg has not hatched and likely not viable.
June 8 - Second hatch
June 6 - First hatch early in the day
April 30(?), 2014 - Third egg laid
April 28, 2014 - Second egg laid
April 26, 2014 - First egg laid
April 6, 2014 - Overnight the female arrives at the nest.  Epic journey back.  For three years, the Osprey have arrived exactly on April
6th! After spending the winter separately in South America, the osprey migrate as individuals all the way back to the same nest in
Silver City.  Incredible precision!  After a long journey the "snowbirds" reunite.  Welcome back!
April 5, 2014 - The male is observed at nest. Waiting for second to arrive


September 12, 2013 - Last time the osprey was seen at the nest (male juvenile)
June 11, 2013 - Second egg hatches
June 9, 2013 - First egg hatches early in the day
May 1, 2013 - Second egg is laid
April 30, 2013 - Incubation begins
April 28, 2013 - First egg is laid.  Four other ospreys hover above in aggressive manner with a few mid-air skirmishes.
April 24, 2013 - April snow making if difficult.  Osprey attempting to build nest on power pole. BHP changes configuration of pole to
discourage nest.
April 6, 2013 - The pair is observed at the nest.  Male arrived a few days earlier

September 8, 2012 - Last time that osprey were seen near the nest.  The adult pair and the two fledglings left on their annual
July 7, 2012 - Two chicks doing well
June 23,2012 - A chick died within the last week.  Cause unknown.  No carcass seen or recovered.  
June 12, 2012 - Third egg hatches
June 11, 2012 - Second egg hatches
June 9, 2012 - First egg hatches around 5:00 am. The male and female were seen looking towards the middle of the nest probably
wondering about the fluff ball moving there. The male got a fish and as usual ate part of it in a nearby branch. However, the eating
behavior was somewhat different. We noticed that he was eating very fast and ended up choking on a bone. After about a minute he
was able to cough it clear (nerves?). He then brought the fish to the nest and the female took it and proceeded to feed the two hour
old chick. Once the chick was fed, the female was unsure how to sit on the two remaining eggs. After a few tries, she decided to
move the chick to the side under her wing. Very exciting stuff.
May 6, 2012 - Three eggs total now on the nest
April 28, 2012 - Exciting development.  First egg laid!
April 2012 - To use as nesting materials, the male prefers to snap branches off trees in mid-flight.  It does the same with pine needles.
It basically approaches a tree, tilts, and grabs a talon-fulls of needles to bring back to the nest.
April 6, 2012 - The ospreys have returned.  The annual migration brings them back with the male arriving a day before the female.  
They get back to work building the nest.

September 28, 2011 - Last sighting of the female osprey on the nest.  The birds have started their migration south.  Osprey do return
to the same nest every year.  We hope to see this pair back in the spring of 2012!
August 1, 2011 - Nest building activity has been very sporadic.  No successful mating.  Furthermore, there are now three osprey trying
to use the nest and therefore disrupting the established pair.  
June 3, 2011 - Mating activity observed at the nest.  Many flights into the nest are for the purpose of delivering sticks and other
nesting material.  
June 2, 2011 - Male is seen performing "Sky Dances" while female is at nest.  Male swoops high up in the sky and goes on free fall
before flying up again.  High pitched calls are intensified.
June 1, 2011 - Female finally lands on nest
May 15, 2011 - Newspaper article (
page 1, page 2) on the newly installed Osprey nest
May 13, 2011 - Male lands on new nests.  Nest building is sporadic
May 13, 2011 - A nesting platform is erected after birds were trying to build nest on nearby power pole.
Male and Female on partially constructed nest
June 2011 - Male and Female Osprey
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Osprey mating - June 5, 2011 courtesy TJ Smith
Two recently hatched chicks being fed
July 7, 2012 Two chicks doing well