Osprey add interest to Mirror Pond

Mirror Pond visitors this week included a pair of osprey, those graceful birds generally known as “fish hawks.”

The birds attracted considerable attention as they swooped over the pines at riverside, scouted the river, then occasionally dived for fish. Their batting average was low, possibly one fish out of 20 dives.

Harassing the osprey were birds that are nesting in the Mirror Pond area. Blackbirds dived on the fishing birds, threw them off course and ruined their nose dives toward the water.

Through the years, these birds, not more than a pair or two at a time, have fished the Mirror Pond. Once they drew the criticism of ardent Bend anglers, it was proposed that the osprey be shot.

But a naturalist who enjoyed the antics of the osprey objected. He was the late Robert W. Sawyer. The birds, he said, had as much right as man to fish in the Deschutes — and had been getting their trout from the river long before man appeared on the local scene.

Sawyer got considerable backing, including a nod from professional naturalists who noted that osprey in their power dives frequently come up with weakling fish.

Some of those fish are possibly diseased, it was pointed out. Osprey, by removing such fish, protect the trout that remain in the river.

Since that day, some 20 years ago, there has been no local campaign to rid the Mirror Pond of osprey. The birds now are welcome visitors.

They add to the interest of Bend’s beautiful Mirror Pond.

Source: Bend Bulletin ©1962

Mirror Pond Osprey Killed With Bullet

A large osprey, believed to be the same bird that has entertained Bend residents and visitors with its Mirror pond plunges over a period of years, was found dead in Drake park this morning, shot directly through the breast.

The bird, generally known as a fish hawk, was found by Charles Bishop. The bullet centered the breast of the diver, and It Is believed that the bird might have been perched on a tree when the shot was fired. No one reported hearing the shot, Bishop, park supervisor, said.

The osprey had a wing spread of 64 Inches, and was such a fine specimen that Bishop plans to have It mounted.

The fishing habit of the osprey was to remain nearly motionless several hundred feet above the Mirror pond, then to plunge with lightning speed to the water surface. Most of Its Mirror pond prey were believed to be whitefish.

Source: The Bend Bulletin ©1948

More Hawks Go Fishing In Mirror Pond

 Vandevert is firm

Ospreys flit happily over water, unaware of condemnation

Apparently ignoring the edict of Dr. J.C. Vandevert, state game commissioner, who has sentenced all ospreys on the Deschutes river here to death, two more fish hawks were wheeling and darting over the mirror pond in Bend today. When announcement was made of the game commissioner’s plans for exterminating the hawks yesterday only two were known to be fishing in the river here.

Dr. Vandevert remained firm in his purpose to have the ospreys killed, in spite of the protest of the Oregon Audubon society, voiced yesterday by President W.A. Elliott. Just when the sentence of death will be carried out, Dr. Vandevert did not say.

Corrects Report

“There is one thing I would like to correct,” Dr. Vandevert said today. “Yesterday The Bulletin quoted me as having said that the fish hawks were killing ducks. What I said was that it had been reported to me by several Bend sportsmen that the hawks have been molesting the ducks, and I have never claimed to know.

“I do know, however, that they are killing fish- the sate’s fish. The game commission is determined to protect the fish that it plants in the rivers and lakes. That is why we are going to have the ospreys killed.”

Dr. Vandevert declared his belief that the fish hawks are feeding on trout, rather than white fish, was due to observation of the habits of the birds. They do not dive very far under the water, he explained, apparently waiting until a fish rises for a fly or other insect and then pouncing on the fish as it reaches the surface of the water. White fish, he pointed out, are usually found on the bottom of the river, in deep water, which would indicate that the birds are after trout, not white fish.

Three Laws Ignored

Dr. Vandevert’s decision to have the ospreys executed was made in the face of three sets of laws which would forbid the destruction of the birds. One is the Oregon law which makes every incorporated city a bird refuge, with not even game birds legal prey at any time. The second is that part of the Oregon code which protects the osprey, among other birds not listed as game birds or “outlaws”, at all times and places. The third is the Bend ordinance which prohibits the use of firearms within the city limits, under heavy penalty.

Dr. Vandevert believes that the right of the game commission to protect game fish carries with it the right to kill ospreys if the molest game fish, he indicated.

“Another thing I would like to have known in connection with this matter is that I have arranged to have 25,000 trout planted in the Descutes at Bend,” Dr. Vandevert declared today. “If those fish can’t be protected against fish hawks, king-fishers and fish ducks, I certainly won’t allow them to be planted here. And I believe most of the sportsmen will back me up in that stand.”

Pelicans Are Cited

The contention of those who have been seeking to have the ospreys protected is that the osprey is just as much a part of the wild life of Oregon as the rainbow trout. The argument has been advanced that a great many Bend citizens do not fish, but are more interested in observing wild life on the mirror pond than catching trout. These people, it has been argued, are entitled to consideration, just as the sportsmen are.

Supporters of this viewpoint have frequently mentioned the case of the white pelicans of the Klamath lakes. These birds, recognized as fish eaters, have been given strict protection by the residents of Klamath Falls, with the result that Klamath Falls has become famous as the city of the Pelicans. The same situation, it is stated, applies on Bend’s mirror pond and includes not only swans, wild ducks, white mallards, and geese, but also the ospreys, king-fishers and fish ducks which have shared in the interest of the community.


Source: Bend Bulletin