Every summer since 2014, University of Illinois Springfield Environmental Studies Associate Professor Tih-Fen Ting has trekked to Virginia or Massachusetts to bring Osprey chicks back to Central Illinois for release. It’s a process known as “hacking" through translocation.
The Osprey is a large, distinctively shaped fish-eating hawk that is endangered in Illinois.
Hacking allows the chicks to be re-located to a new nesting site, which will hopefully become their home. The chicks are placed into a hack tower and when they are old enough and ready to fledge, the doors are opened so they can leave the box.
“The objective is to re-establish self-sustained breeding populations of Ospreys in Illinois where they are listed as endangered,” said Ting.
This summer six Osprey chicks were re-located to Banner Marsh and another six chicks were re-located to Lake Shelbyville.
The Ospreys will eventually migrate to Central and South America, and when they are mature, hopefully return to Central Illinois to breed.
Ting’s efforts are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with support from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.