Mono Lake is an important and well known sanctuary for birds that flock to the islands each year to build their nests. The lake is also a popular place for humans to flock to view the birds and other wildlife.
This year State Park staff has noticed more boaters then usual paddling too close to the Ospreys that nest on the tower like tufa formations that rise above the surface of the lake.
The Ospreys build large nests out of sticks on tufa formations to lay their eggs, which should be ready to hatch any day. The birds of prey may make for interesting observation, but park staff reports this time of year it is critical that the Osprey remain in their nests. Any kind of human interaction could result in the Osprey “flushing” the nest which leaves the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation,” staff says.
If you want to view the Ospreys by boat, bring a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens because its actually illegal to travel within 200 yards of an Osprey nest whether the nest is occupied or not, between April 1 and September 1 of each year.
Distance rules dont just apply to the Ospreys. With 40-60,000 gulls nesting, it is also illegal to travel within one mile of the Mono Lake islands between April 1 and August 1.
The Mono Lake Visitor Center in Lee Vining offers more information on the boating regulations and safety.