Return of the Osprey

Rob Gibson

Another sure sign of spring in the Okanagan, the osprey have returned.

FortisBC and the Ministry of Transportation have set up cameras across the province so everyone can watch the osprey as they return from migration and take up residence in manufactured nests, many which are equipped with cameras.

Tanya Lang Ghar with FortisBC says the program protects the birds from electrocution and improves electrical safety and reliability by preventing damage to electrical equipment, power outages and even fire when nest debris falls on the power lines.

"We want to keep an eye on them as well. People in B.C. moved here for the outdoors and they love the osprey and we want to share that interest with people who love the birds as much as we do."

Osprey mate for life and they usually return to the same nest every year. Biologist Roxanne Tripp says a typical adult osprey couple have 3 or 4 babies every year.

"Osprey come back around the beginning of April, they begin courtship and start building their nests, they start nesting by mid-May."

Osprey are expert fishers and they love Okanagan Lake. They are built for fishing and are one of the few raptors that can hover in place in order to strike at the exact right time.

"These guys are different in that they only eat fish. They have oily feathers that allow them to swim underwater to catch fish."

Osprey build their own nests but sometimes they return to find their preferred nests occupied by another osprey or even a goose.

"I like to call it time-sharing, the geese generally leave the nest by early May and that's when the osprey move in."

So if you have been keeping an eye on your favourite nest and you see a goose in it, not to worry nature has a way of working things out.

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