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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Nongame & Endangered Wildlife > Wildlife Diversity - Ornithology > Ospreys > Osprey Reintroduction Project - Overview Osprey Reintroduction Project - Overview

The osprey is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica. The population declined rapidly between 1950 and 1980 due to DDT use, loss of breeding habitat and poaching. The banning of DDT in combination with state conservation programs has allowed the osprey to make a comeback throughout the United States. The osprey is considered endangered in Indiana.

An osprey is a raptor or bird of prey. Raptors are at the top of their food chain and prey on smaller animals. The osprey has special adaptations to hunt fish but will occasionally eat rodents, birds, small vertebrates and crustaceans. Although they can be very protective of their nests, they will not harm people.

Table 1: Osprey Nesting in Indiana

Year Number of Nests
1990-2000 1 annually
2001 2
2002 4
2003 5
2004 8
2005 11
2006 12
2007 16
2008 24
2009 31
2010 35
2011 37
2012 49