Maine Government News
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: New Osprey Nest Found at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
June 15, 2012
Andy Hutchinson, (207) 865-4465
AUGUSTA, Maine – The staff at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport are crowing about the appearance of two avian fluff balls in the osprey nest on Googins Island.
“We saw them for the first time on Saturday – two babies being fed by mom,” Park Manager Andy Hutchinson reported this week.
Two other osprey chicks in the park’s mainland nest also have been heard calling for food, but the little ones haven’t yet been seen because of the level of the nest, the park manager said.
In the surprise of the season, however, a third osprey nest was discovered last week along the Harraseeket River, which is also in the park. “It looks like it’s a good year for osprey,” Hutchinson commented.
Park visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the unique raptors and other aspects of the park’s natural history through interpretive programs held at 2 p.m. every day at Wolfe’s Neck Woods. The daily schedule for walks, talks and presentations began this month.
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park has been gaining notice in the past few years because of the annual return of two resident osprey pairs to the same two nests at the park each spring: one on Googins Island and the other on the mainland. In fact, attendance at the popular Freeport Park is 40 percent higher, year to date, for this year over last year, Hutchinson said.
Once an endangered species, the population of osprey, or fish hawks, in Maine has undergone a big increase in the past 30 years, said Hutchinson, “Now they’re a ‘species of least concern’ under state laws,” he noted.
The two male osprey return from South America each spring almost to the same week to take up residence in their favorite nests. The two females follow a week or two later, just like clockwork.
Osprey lay an average of three eggs each season, with one to three chicks surviving, depending on how well they are fed and if the food is shared.
The new, third nest was found last week by Michael Frey, park interpretive ranger. Though it’s high up in a tree, it still can be seen from the park’s Harraseeket Trail.
“We haven’t spotted any babies yet, but it is an active nest.” Hutchinson said.
Three nests are the most that Wolfe’s Neck Woods has ever had in the park’s history, which dates back to 1973.
Hutchinson attributes this to the availability of good nesting sites and good fishing grounds – tall trees near the water and shallow areas – which made the park an appropriate nesting area. “We have everything they want right here,” Hutchinson said.
Visitors can find out information about the park interpretive programs by calling the park at (207) 865-4465 or by checking the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands calendar at http://www.parksandlands.com
For more information about Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, go to: http://www.maine.gov/wolfesneckwoods