PEORIA — Looks like apologies are in order to a pair of birds.
Yesterday, this space spotlighted a big nest atop the McClugage Bridge. Readers had been calling the paper to ask if the birds are bald eagles. But the Illinois Department of Transportation said they were peregrine falcons.
Nope. And nope.
"Those are actually ospreys," says Mike Miller, the supervisor of environmental and interpretive services at the Peoria Park District and an active member of the Peoria Audubon Society.
Multiple readers also pointed out the misidentification. But as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes, ospreys carry similarities to bald eagles. Ospreys have white on their heads, plus a wingspan almost as wide as eagles'. However, they're about the size of a goose, and thus are smaller than eagles.
Miller says ospreys don't usually nest on bridges, not around Peoria. But it's good to see them here, as Illinois lists them as an endangered species.
"But we're seeing them making a comeback," Miller says.
Why the mix-up with peregrines? IDOT didn't call me about that. But maybe it was because peregrines also lurk on the same bridge, though with nests underneath, Miller says.
"That's probably what IDOT was thinking," Miller says.
Ospreys mostly eat fish, while peregrines often eat birds. However, in that ospreys are a bit bigger than peregrines, they should be able to live in harmony.
"It's a big bridge," Miller said with a chuckle. "They tend to ignore each other."
PHIL LUCIANO is a Journal Star columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com, facebook.com/philluciano and (309) 686-3155. Follow him on Twitter.com/LucianoPhil.