Laramie, Wy – High winds, wildfires and non-native trout have reduced the osprey population in Yellowstone National Park to its lowest number in 20 years.
The ornithologist at Yellowstone says the number of nesting pairs of the fish-eating birds has dwindled, from more than 100 in 1992 to about 48 this year.
He attributes the decline to a decrease in nesting habitat, due to recent high winds; and a 2003 fire that burned much of Frank Island in Yellowstone Lake. The island is a primary nesting spot for ospreys in the park.
Another factor is an increase in lake trout, a non-native species that preys on the ospreys' favorite food: native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.