Conservationists thrilled to see new eggs from endangered osprey at Port Lincoln

Friends of Osprey suspect five osprey nesting pairs have laid eggs in recently installed nesting platforms. (Supplied: Fran Solly)

Birders are hopeful ospreys are taking to a series of artificial nests on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula as the laying season starts.

A nest near the Port Lincoln barge so far has three eggs in it, with both parents taking turns to care for the eggs.

It comes just months after the installation of several artificial nesting platforms designed to help the fewer than 50 breeding pairs in South Australia rebuild the population.

While the Port Lincoln barge site had been an active breeding site before the platforms were established, Friends of Osprey member Ian Falkenberg said it was exciting to see.

“It’s very significant — with fewer than 50 pairs of ospreys in SA — to have a very productive pair in a place like Port Lincoln. It is so important,” he said.

Mr Falkenberg said the group thought at least another five nests had birds in them, but members did not want to get close enough to check if they were laying.

“We know when the birds are sitting low on the nests and hunkered down they’re probably on eggs or about to lay eggs,” he said.

Friends of Osprey secretary Fran Solly said the artificial nests were crucial in protecting osprey from predators, such as foxes.

“It’s always a worry when you’re interfering with nature,” she said.

“But in this case, it’s often been man who has put them in this situation and they need a helping hand to get out of it.”

Friends of Osprey are running a 24-hour stream of the Port Lincoln barge osprey nest with citizen scientists noting the times when parents swap incubating the eggs.

Ms Solly said the platforms were crucial to the future of the ospreys.

“On the Yorke Peninsula there are now six artificial nesting platforms,” she said.

“Two years ago there was only one active nesting osprey pair on the Yorke Peninsula. This year, there are five.”

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