Here at Innsbrook Village, we already know that Ruidoso, New Mexico is a pretty great place to live. Migrating ospreys, however, haven’t quite gotten the memo, so to speak. That’s why Smokey Bear Ranger District wildlife biologist Larry Cordova and his team are trying to provide Ospreys with some prime real estate near Ruidoso’s Grindstone Reservoir.

Working in conjunction with Ruidoso’s Parks and Recreation Department and the youth organization Ecoservants, Cordova and his fellow biologists have installed two osprey nesting platforms in the vicinity of the reservoir. Each platform rests about 110 feet up in the canopy of a tree.

In the late 1990’s, biologists implemented a similar osprey nesting program in nearby Lincoln National Forest. Unfortunately, they failed to attract a pair of ospreys to the area. By strategically placing the nesting platforms near a body of water, Cordova and his team hope to have a better chance of success this time around. In addition to the nesting platforms, the team plans to build a viewing area with picnic tables and benches so that visitors can relax and enjoy the view of the majestic raptors’ home.

The professional tree climbers who installed the nesting platforms left branches at the tops of the trees so that webcams can be attached to monitor osprey families if and when they do decide to settle down. The window for nesting lasts until mid-May, but even if ospreys don’t make a home in the nesting platforms this year, Cordova is optimistic that they might move in next year. He’s even spotted an osprey in one of the trees already!

“We got there a little before 7 a.m., and we were gathering all the supplies we would need for the day, the ropes and such,” said Cordova in an interview with Ruidoso News. “We parked and came up over the rise in the trail and right away I looked at the tree we were going to and there was a bird. My first impression was a bald eagle, but I looked closer and it was an osprey in the tree we were planning to put the platform on. To me, it was like the bird saying, ‘Yes, this is the tree I want.’”

Hopefully before too long we’ll have a new feathered family in the neighborhood!