It has been a very interesting year for us with the osprey cam (www.ospreymontana.com) this year. We have seen a varied smattering of avian guests and a couple of very firsts for us.
Starting over the winter, we had a magnificent pair of Bald Eagles that decided the nest was a great place to take a break. Easy to eat and rest. So, throughout the winter months we got a close-up view of these two incredible birds sit, fish, eat and rest. Then off they would go to other parts unknown only to be back a couple days later, lounging around the nest.
As spring arrived so did the Canadian Geese. Normally they will check out the nest, but then Duke and Duchess will chase them away. However this year, momma goose took the nest and before we knew it – six eggs all cozied in down. Mom and dad were very protective and despite Duke and Duchess screaming and harassing, mom stayed on her eggs. A little over a month she sat. Just yesterday we finally saw goslings. We saw 5 yellow balls of fluff. We also watched a moment where mom moved the unhatched egg and respectfully covered it with down.
Most of the morning today we got to watch mom and dad goose wander around the nest, look over (I am imaging them sizing up the tumble their littles would be taking later), and corral the littles around. All the while as mom or dad would walk around, then 5 little balls of fluff would wobble after and mimic the peek over the edge. Then would then shoot back to the middle of the nest (quite a bit of trepidation I would think).
Finally, about 11:50am today (05/04/2022), dad dove off the nest. The 5 fluffs scampered over to the side and watched. Then mom took off as well. 5 little balls of fluff became 5 noisy balls of fluff talking to mom and dad on the ground. You can hear the mature “honk” just barely encouraging the littles to throw themselves off and get ready for the next chapter.
The first little fluff just launched off the edge, no hesitation – just jump. The other 4 all stood around the edge and watched. Then saw them move around in concentric circles working up the courage. Then number 2 and 3 took the dive. 4 and 5 were not quite ready. They squawked a bit. Couple of false starts and then then withing 90 seconds of the first gosling jumping they were all gone. We can happily report all five landed with no injury and were seen following mom and dad off toward Spring Creek.
We do not know if it is too late for Duke and Duchess to return to the nest and make a go this year or not. They have been attempting to build a new nest over on the power poles next to the new Applied Materials building. We know this because as they drop wood, it shorts out the power lines. POP, then no power. A call gets placed to Flathead Electric. They come, clear off the debris, replace the large fuse on the pole and we are back in business. Then a couple of days later, POP. And we do it all over. The first time, the wood caught fire and dropped. Then Evergreen Fire Department got to practice a bit with the grass fire around the power pole. We hope to see Duke and Duchess just come claim their home so we can watch another brood this summer. Here is to hoping. I did grab a clip of the goslings skydiving (with no parachute) for the first time. Check it out below.