Osprey breeding season has started on Rottnest Island

Osprey breeding season has started on Rottnest Island

OSPREYS have started courting each other on Rottnest Island under the watchful eye of bird enthusiast Courtney Wheatley.

The Mt Hawthorn resident spends eight weeks of the year on the island observing the ospreys during the breeding season and is about to embark on a banding project to learn more about the resident birds.

“We hope to start banding this year,” he said.

“From that we can start following the chicks to learn if any of them come back.

“Last year a juvenile which was most likely born here wouldn’t leave the nest and was here the whole season.

“The two adult parents were bombing him everyday but he eventually died of starvation.

“We may do some DNA work on a year by year basis to see if we can identify any particular adults.”

Mr Wheatley, who completes his research through the Rottnest Foundation, said ospreys had two nests during the breeding season – one for nesting and the other for rearing.

“They’re just so iconic and powerful the way they dive and fish,” he said.

“They also have a great sense of awareness.”

Mr Wheatley said his previous career as a stockman had given him great observational skills.