17 June 2016

Helping the osprey

For as long as I can remember, when I've driven past a certain intersection in north-central Minnesota, I've looked up to view an osprey's nest located on top of a barren scrag (residuum of a storm-damaged red pine, I think).  This year I did a double-take because it looked so different.  I had to stop the car to study it, and realized that the crag was still there (on the left), but a new structure had arisen, with a huge nest atop it:

A quick search of the 'net after I got back home led me to a news story about the response of some volunteers in the Walker, Minnesota area:

A 30-year-old osprey nest destroyed by high winds last year was successfully replaced March 11 on Onigum Road.

Thanks to the combined efforts of the Lake Country Power, Leech Lake Reservation Division of Resource Management, Leech Lake Association and Agency Bay Association, the new nest will soon be home to osprey.

Steve Mortensen of the Leech Lake Reservation Division of Resource Management donated the materials for the nest, while the procurement of the pole through Lake Country Power was done with the help of supervisors Jim Hill and Jim Wimmer.

Lake Country Power linemen Paul, Joel and Shannon used a cherrypicker to repair and put up the nest, which is almost 60 feet above the ground.
Photo of the crew at the link.  Here's the location on Google Streetview (turn to the right to see the old nest on the crag).


  1. English is not my first language, but I'm curious about the use of "crag" referring to the tall stump/broken tree. I've only ever come across crag used about mountains (steep rock projection), what is the definition when talking about trees?

    1. Greetings, Thorke -

      I'm in the middle of a reread of Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books, so this would be the perfect time to bring forward the "Humpty Dumpty" argument:

      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

      “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

      “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

      But... in truth as I read your query I agreed that something didn't sound right. So I went to my regular dictionary ("crag=rock") and then pulled out my OED, hoping to find a second or third definition that would exonerate me - but to no avail.

      Finally, after dinner and a recreational beverage it came to me: "Scrag."

      Back to the OED: "Probably an alteration of "crag" due to some feeling of phonetic expressiveness" [whatever that means]. But... defined as a skinny person, a neck of mutton, or a stump of a tree (and also "rough, rocky, barren ground."

      So... I've amended the text accordingly.

      One of the unexpected pleasures of this self-imposed chore of writing a blog is the participation of a couple thousand unpaid volunteer proofwriters who help me correct any errors that creep in. My thanks, and a tip of the blogging hat to you. As the blog's unofficial motto says: you learn something every day.

    2. your 'scrag' is a bit too tall to be a 'stump of a tree'. calling it a 'standing trunk' might be closer?


  2. You can watch an estonian osprey family's life here:

  3. I am an osprey nest monitor here in RI. The program is run by the local Audubon Society.


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