After five years of successful breeding in Newport Beach, once-threatened ospreys have begun to spread their domain.
A female born on a man-made platform in the Upper Newport Bay gave birth recently to a chick at another specialized platform a few miles away, in neighboring Irvine.
Experts say this is a positive sign for a sensitive species that for decades had no known nests in Southern California. The osprey, a bird-of-prey threatened by hunters and DDT, has been cared for locally by a group of dedicated conservationists. They're now just understanding the species' breeding patterns.
"Now we have an idea of how far they might go from their nest," said Scott Thomas, the vice president of Orange County's Sea and Sage chapter of the Audubon Society.
Thomas was one of the conservationists who removed the chick from its nest at a recent "banding" ceremony, where they attached a rubber band to its feet for tracking purposes.