04/03/14 The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and NIPSCO are working together to make northwest Indiana a better place to raise a family, especially for osprey.

Last week, the organizations collaborated to install two 30-foot osprey nesting platforms at Indiana Dunes State Park. The towers overlook wetlands and are viewable by the public. 

The osprey is a state-endangered bird of prey with a nesting population of fewer than 60 pairs in Indiana.

The last osprey nest in northwest Indiana occurred more than 100 years ago.

In much of the eastern United States, ospreys favor artificial structures for nesting. Annual bird counts have shown that more than 100 osprey migrate over the dunes each spring. 

“The osprey is a fascinating bird to watch” said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist at the park. “Their comeback is a symbol of the importance of wetlands, clean water and a healthy environment. They’re a great bird to get visitors excited about wildlife and to learn more about the outdoors.”

Visitors can observe the nesting platforms from two locations. The first can be seen from the Trail 8 boardwalk, near the park’s Wilson Shelter. The other can be seen from the park’s eastern boundary, along Kemil Road, north of U.S. 12.

Funding to build the platforms, which sit atop the 30-foot utility poles, came from the Friends of Indiana Dunes group.