Launched in 2016 during the Réseau de Transport d'Électricité's (RTE) Nature Festival, the "Objective Osprey" project brings together ONF (National Forestry Office), the environmental association Loiret Nature Environnement (LNE), RTE and the City of Orleans around a common goal: the preservation and improvement of knowledge of the Osprey (balbuzzard), an emblematic bird of prey in the Centre Val de Loire region.
To do this, cameras have been set up to observe Osprey nests. This process has proven to be effective in observing the species in its nest without generating disturbance (historical camera set up in 2000 by LNE on the site of the Ravoir pond, cameras installed in 2016 by RTE on pylons in Sologne where ospreys have built their nests). The images collected are a valuable source of information to deepen knowledge about the species (behaviour, diet, sources of predation etc.) and allow also to communicate about the Osprey, a species that remains rare and vulnerable on a national scale.
This project is based on three pillars:
- Regional anchoring: The osprey made its return to the state forest of Orleans in the 1980s, and the number of pairs has gradually increased since then. The species has colonised the forest of Orleans, then the Sologne, making this sector of the central region the largest population in France. A dynamic of actors has been set up in this region for 30 years. The project Objectif balbuzard is part of this dynamic thanks to the participation of multiple actors of the region (Loiret Nature Environnement, MOBE - Orléans Museum for Biodiversity and Environment etc.).
- Research programs: This project includes a scientific component. Research programs have been set up at RTE and MOBE. Two RTE interns worked on the study of the diet of ospreys and the interest of video monitoring for the preservation of ospreys (MOBE). An article on the RTE Osprey R&D study will be soon published in the journal Ornithos.
- Educational support: The project is part of a desire to preserve the species and to raise public awareness through images and a better understanding of ecology. For that, the public is received at the observatory of Ravoir during the period of reproduction. In addition, the website site Objectif Balbuzard allows to watch live life in a nest in Sologne, and provides multiple information on ospreys and the current season. Finally, a Facebook page and an Instagram account animate the community with the latest information on the nests.
The project also involes the running of an observatory. Built in 1996 by ONF, the Ravoir observatory is located in the Forest of the city of Orléans, at the Ravoir pond (Ouzouer-sur-Loire, 45). From the beginning of April to the end of August, the observatory of Ravoir is the only French site allowing to observe the nesting of a pair of ospreys without disturbing them.Visitors are welcomed by LNE staff every Sunday from 3pm to 7pm.
The website Objectif Balbuzardhttps://renewables-grid.eu/typo3/objectifbalbuzard.com allows you to observe the life of ospreys on their nests, to disseminate knowledge about this species and to raise public awareness about the importance of its preservation.
This practice was a runner-up for the category of Environmental Protection in RGI's Good Practice of the Year Award 2016. Read more in the brochure here.
News in Summer 2022
- In the Loiret, about 25 pairs breed each year.
- They are mainly settled in the forest of Orleans but also in some private properties in the vicinity or on pylons.
- At the regional level, there are about 50 pairs and at the national level, 117. The expansion continues slowly but surely.
- Nests on pylons in France: In 2021, there were more than 20 nests on pylons
- February 19: the first ospreys were seen. Panchita, a regular female of the Ravoir, arrived on February 25.
- March 27: the brooding of Panchita began.
- Beginning of May : two births.
- 29 June: death of the two youngsters - analyses in progress to determine the cause.
Camera Sologne 1 (images of nest on pylon broadcasted live on the site)
- The first osprey was observed on March 23.
- April 22: beginning of the brooding
- End of May - beginning of June : 3 births
- June 29: death of one of the three youngsters: search for the cause in progress.
RTE continues to manage the Facebook page Objectif Balbuzard, which now has over 1300 subscribers. The more recent Instagram page has about 100 followers and is also managed by RTE.
RTE is the French electricity transmission system operator. Its mission includes the operation, maintenance and development of the high and extra high voltage network. RTE also guarantees the smooth operation and security of the grid.