‘Mother Nature soap opera’ plays out on osprey webcam

‘Mother Nature soap opera’ plays out on osprey webcam

By mid-May, the osprey had reclaimed the nest and now star in “Mother Nature soap opera.” (Screen capture)

Call it a Mother Nature soap opera.

That would be an apt description of what has happened in recent weeks with the popular osprey nest live webcam that has garnered so much attention by local residents and many from outside the community.

The Town of Osoyoos partnered with FortisBC three years ago to install a camera each spring and provide a live feed showing an osprey nest built on top of a hydro pole just north of the entrance to Osoyoos Elementary School.

As regular visitors to the webcam have noticed, since the camera went live on March 31, there has been plenty of drama.

Instead of the nest being home to an osprey family, the nest was taken over by various Canada geese in early April, said Gerald Davis, the town’s director of community services, who is the town’s contact with FortisBC officials for the osprey nest webcam.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure of everything that’s going on up there, but I do know some Canada geese eggs were hatched a few days ago,” said Davis.

He talked to officials with FortisBC on several occasions and they said that the adult osprey that inhabited the nest in 2016 appear to have tried to build another nest not far away near the Osoyoos Childcare Centre.

The problem with that is the nest is located near dangerous high voltage wires and FortisBC crews might have to dismantle that nest due to the dangers posed, he said.

There were also concerns about osprey being close to children attending the daycare, said Davis.

While there were sightings of osprey at the nest located near the elementary school, almost all reports indicate the nest was inhabited by Canada geese from early April well into May, he said.

Reports on the town website indicate four goslings hatched on May 8 and all four had left the nest by May 9.

Another report indicated random visits from two adult osprey on May 11 and that the female osprey had laid an egg in the nest on May 15.

FortisBC has posted information that Canada geese often do nest prior to ospreys and will occupy an osprey nest early in the spring season and that Canada geese sometimes nest before the osprey return.

FortisBC also states osprey often return and challenge the geese for the nest site, with varying degrees of success.

In its posting on May 3, Fortis BC writes, “our environmental department have looked at the situation concerning the osprey nest and advised that it looks like the osprey have found a new nest site for the time being in a nearby farm field near the Hwy. 3 intersection. Since the osprey have already found an alternative nest site, the recommendation is to leave the goose where it is for now and install a goose deterring device (covering the nest) once the geese have left.

“The goose deterrent will then be removed at the beginning of the next osprey breeding season so the geese won’t be able to start using the platform before the osprey have returned from their winter ground.”

By mid-May, the nest was being occupied by a single adult Canada goose.

The drama hasn’t deterred people from viewing the webcam, said Davis.

“From everything I’ve heard, viewership is still really strong and people are still interesting in observing what’s going on,” he said. “It’s sort of like a Mother Nature soap opera between the osprey and the Canada geese. The camera provides a birds eye view of what’s going on.”

The webcam can be accessed by going on the town website at www.osoyoos.ca and looking under the community tab and scrolling down to Osprey Nest Live Webcam.

By Keith Lacey

The osprey cam was a goose cam in April. (Screen capture)