The birds are back in town: Nest cam has viewers os-praying for a hatching
Even from the ground, ospreys, a beautiful native bird of prey, can easily capture the attention of Grand County’s recreators with their smooth flights and swift movements.
Their natural ability to awe is magnified when viewers can get a bird’s eye view of the ospreys, local Kent Roorda has learned.
Roorda hosts an online live stream of an osprey couple that’s living in his backyard in Grand Lake during the spring and summer months. This year, the ospreys returned to their nest on April 15 and began mating.
“That seems to be the magic date every year … give or take one or two days,” Roorda said.
On May 7, the female laid the first of three eggs this season, each three days apart. The chicks should hatch in this order as well, Roorda explained. He’s been keeping a close eye on the ospreys’ habits ever since they made his yard home four years ago.
Roorda installed the 62 foot osprey nesting pole and camera in his backyard in 2016 after being inspired by similar projects done by the US Forest Service.
“I really went all out and spiffed it up so the nest I gave them would be really nice,” he said. “My nest should still be there 20 years from now.”
In his first year after completing the project, two ospreys, a species that mates for life, made Roorda’s pole the home for their nest and laid three eggs.
Identifying the birds by symbols on the back of their heads — a peace symbol on the female and a lightening bolt on the male — Roorda is assured that each year since the first the pair has returned in the spring to lay eggs.
The birds have become so commonplace that Roorda’s dogs can even differentiate the noises the ospreys make when communicating with one another.
“If my dogs hear the squawk (the female) lets out when somebody or something is walking by, they’ll run to the door to see what’s outside,” he said.
Last year, the pair laid three eggs as well, but after the roughly 35 day incubation period, none of the shells hatched and the nest sat quiet.
“Her due date came and nothing happened and nothing happened, and what was really sad is that she just kept sitting on the eggs,” Roorda said. “It’s too bad … but that’s life in the animal world.”
After assessing what might have happened, since all of the previous years had seen success, Roorda is pretty sure a spring snowstorm chilled the hatchlings while the mom was away for too long.
So far, with the milder spring compared to last and everything going according to plan, Roorda is hopeful.
“They’re incredible parents,” he said.
Regardless of how things may turn out, he looks forward to experiencing it with all of the viewers who watch his stream. Roorda said he’s received messages from viewers all over the world who share his interest in the ospreys.
“The best part of it for me is to see so many people enjoying it and learning from it,” he said. “From the ground you can only see so much, you can’t really see what a camera shows.”
Next season, Roorda hopes to add a microphone for an even more intamate experience.
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