Some lucky osprey is getting a new home just in time for the holidays.
A team at Duran Golf Club, 7032 Stadium Parkway, erected a 20-foot wooden pole and platform near the 18-hole golf course’s 10th hole and a lake in hopes of attracting one of the fish-hunting birds of prey ready to build a nest.
“At this time, we do not have an incumbent osprey,” Duran Golf Club Course Superintendent Andrew Norman said. “However, we have spotted one or two checking out the site and structure. Hopefully, there will be a claim staked in the near future.”
Duran officials came up with the idea for an osprey nest during a bi-annual meeting to discuss projects and environmental impacts of the club, which has been certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary through Audubon International since February 2020. Norman, Duran General Manager Jeff Von Eschen, Dr. Jim Papritan, a retired professor from Ohio State University, and Anne Hicks, a Resource Advisory Group member, began the planning process for the pole in late summer, Norman said.
With assistance from on-site employee and Florida Certified Master naturalist Brenda Pannell and Timothy McClaskey, Duran’s assistant superintendent who also is licensed in native area management, officials selected a site between the clubhouse and the 10th hole for the osprey pole, Norman said.
“The spot borders a wetlands, so there wouldn’t be much disturbance from people,” he said. “Furthermore, for the sake of the osprey, it is far enough off the golf course that any mis-hit shots wouldn’t find their way anywhere near
Pole construction, in October, took less than two weeks, but transporting the pole to the site was a slow commute that required a truck and tractor, Norman said. Crew members McClaskey, Steven Kurjack, Andre Wicks, Dr. Carlos Woodward, and Equipment Technician Michael Smith spent about four hours getting the pole upright and level. They also poured about 1,200 pounds of concrete to secure the base, Norman said. A 3- by 3-foot box attached atop the pole has wire mesh to provide support for whatever nesting material an occupying osprey chooses to bring in, he said.
Nesting usually takes place from late November and early December until February or March in Florida.
Visible to drivers and passers-by from Stadium Parkway, the pole is the first installed at Duran and has generated positive feedback from visitors, Norman said. More might be added if the venture proves successful, he added.
The pole is one of numerous environmental projects planned at Duran, including bee hotels, pollinator gardens, debris and brush piles for smaller wildlife, and several on-site Monarch butterfly gardens.
“Golf courses have historically gotten a bad stigma as far as being environmental stewards, when in reality it is quite the opposite,” Norman said. “So, it is always nice to receive recognition for our environmental efforts.”