A nesting platform has been installed to encourage endangered ospreys to resume breeding again in metropolitan SA, as part of Green Adelaide’s ongoing rewilding efforts.

Helicopter over the onkaparinga river and a large metal structure
A helicopter lowered the nesting platform into place

The nesting platform was installed by helicopter along the Onkaparinga River, and adds to 13 other platforms installed in the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas as part of a broader program to increase the population of ospreys across the state.

Green Adelaide ecologist Jason van Weenen said the platform is designed to provide a safe place for the birds to breed without risk of disturbances from humans or predators.

“Recent studies have found that the osprey population has been impacted by a reduction in quality nesting sites across their range in SA, due to a historical removal of tall trees along SA’s coastline, as well as threats from introduced predators like foxes," Mr van Weenen said.

“There has been a 26% decline in the osprey population over the past 10 years in South Australia.

"It is estimated that there are fewer than 50 pairs in the state, and it has been a long time since they have bred along the Onkaparinga River.

“Recent osprey sightings in the area have renewed hope that birds could be encouraged back to breed.”

People stand in front of a red and blue helicopter in a grass field
The project team stands in front of the helicopter which lowered the platform into place

The platform design replicates that of successful structures installed over the last year across the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas. Of the 13 platforms established across SA, 9 are now occupied by osprey.

Friends of Osprey member Ian Falkenberg said the successful adoption of nest platforms in other regional locations has been incredibly rewarding to see, and it is great that this initiative is also being rolled out in metropolitan areas.

“We are excited about the location for this latest platform within the Encounter Marine Park because of reduced disturbances for the species, and good foraging grounds in the broader area,” Mr Falkenberg said.

“While adoption of the platform by osprey can never be guaranteed, we are excited to monitor the site into the future and hopefully witness this apex predator becoming resident again to the area.”

Three men sit on a trailer with an osprey nest platform structure behind them
The nest platform structure was built by the Ardrossan Community & Men's Shed

The artificial nesting platform was helicoptered into place to minimise disturbance to the sensitive and culturally significant site.

Green Adelaide will monitor the site with assistance from local rangers and volunteers to detect if ospreys begin to use the new nest.

Learn more about our rewilding projects.

Like what you’ve read? Browse our other nature stories, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.