The Sandpoint Osprey Cam at Memorial Field

Hello! Welcome to the Sandpoint, Idaho osprey cam, watching the nest at Memorial Field.
See more below, join the live chat, and check the Nest Notes blog.

Live viewers

The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online, with major support donated by Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Janie Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest. Maintenance help by Bestway Tree Service. Technical help donated by Video Security Technology. Electrical services provided by Ron’s Electric. Cam efforts supported by Lake Pend Oreille Cruises. To all… thank you!

This project is sponsored by:

Avista Birds of Prey Northwest Northland Communications

Welcome

… to the Sandpoint Osprey Cam. Located at the Sandpoint, Idaho, War Memorial Field on Lake Pend Oreille, the osprey nest here was moved in Autumn 2011 to a nesting platform atop a new lighting standard, as part of major renovation to the field facilities.

Support the osprey cam

No tax money is used for cam operations. Contributions are gratefully accepted to help defray operational costs. Want to help?

The Memorial Field Ospreys

Memorial Field is home an active osprey nest – as well as scores of community events each year, from soccer, baseball and football games to the annual Festival at Sandpoint summertime music series. From early spring, when the ospreys arrive in Sandpoint following their migration from Central and South America, until they head south in autumn, the ospreys are a ubiquitous presence at the field – occasionally upstaging the human events as they return to their nests carrying a squirming fish, or circle with their distinctive, whistling calls.

Osprey biology & FAQ

Lake Pend Oreille is an important nesting area for osprey, and these unique birds of prey have legions of fans among residents and visitors. They are the only raptors that eat fish exclusively, and they are consummate fishermen – putting on a thrilling show as they hover over the water, then plummet down and dive completely under to grab fish. Thanks to Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest and Sandpoint Online’s nestwatcher Robin Werner, read more about these fascinating birds on our osprey FAQ»

The nest cam project

The opportunity to place a web cam on the Memorial Field nest arose when the city undertook replacement of the aging light poles at the field in Autumn 2011. Two of the old poles held osprey nests, and their replacement poles were built with nesting platforms above the light arrays. Subsequently, in Spring 2020 as part of major field renovations, a new pole was erected for the osprey nest in a new location near the field’s boat ramp, more proximate to the lake.

The cam project is a collaboration among many partners. It was proposed to the City of Sandpoint Parks Department by staff at Keokee, which produces Sandpoint Online, and embraced by the parks staff and the city’s utility partner, Avista. The cam, network and computer equipment, plus implementation of the streaming video, are provided by Sandpoint Online with financial and logistical support from Avista. Northland Communications is providing the high-bandwidth Internet connection through its new fiber optic network in Sandpoint. Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology in Sandpoint led the camera equipment installation. Raptor biologist Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest, a raptor conservation and rescue group based in St. Maries, is consulting as biologist for the project. Bob Anderson, Raptor Resource Project, provided initial advice. Many others have contributed, including Ron’s Electric staff; Thorco Electric; local birder Rich DelCarlo; architect Sean Fitzpatrick and CTA Architects; Bob Anderson of the Raptor Resource Project.

Sandpoint Osprey Nest Observations

  • Cindi
    (Sun, Nov 29. 2020 08:42 AM PST)
    For Charlie – Oh my! What a big change for you! Are you still in Sandpoint though? We will sorely miss your eyes on the ground, but life cannot revolve around the nest…
  • Cindi
    (Sun, Nov 29. 2020 08:45 AM PST)
    For Charlie – I wish you happiness and hope you adjust quickly-major moves are not easy. I feel we should give you some sort of virtual retirement party!! 😀
  • Charlie
    (Sun, Nov 29. 2020 11:56 AM PST)
    For Cindi, that is pretty funny! a Virtual retirement party!! Thank you for your thoughts! I moved to another town, but within the county. I will be in to walk with neighbors occasionally and see nest
  • Sue G
    (Sun, Nov 29. 2020 01:05 PM PST)
    For Charlie – wishing you much happiness in your new home, but you will be so very much missed for all your nest reports.
  • Charlie
    (Mon, Nov 30. 2020 11:57 AM PST)
    For Sue G. I greatly appreciate your comment! I truly will miss walking down and doing those little nest reports. It was my pleasure. I hope that someone else will come forth to carry on!

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BLOG/NEST NOTES

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October 14

Our Nestwatcher Robin Werner provides this final word on the 2020 season for our osprey family.

Osprey Bonner in Sandpoint Idaho - September 4, 2020

New fledgling Bonner asks: “What do you mean I have to get my own fish now?”

While many of wish we were saying goodbye to 2020 – as tough as this year has been for so many – we are instead having to say goodbye to our osprey family!

Sandy, our adult female, and Benewah, one of this season’s chicks were last seen on the nest August 25. Pete the adult male, and Bonner, the second chick, stayed around a little longer and were last seen September 6. It is considered a successful season if one chick survives, and this nest, has seen chicks migrate every season.

While our osprey family has migrated to warmer waters, we look forward to seeing Pete and Sandy this coming spring, usually around the first of April. Bonner and Benewah will stay in their new locations until they migrate in their second year to look for a mate.

Meantime, our nest cam will be operating this fall and winter until the ospreys return. We’ll be aiming in different directions to take in the local scene, and everyone is invited to drop by to have a look through these upcoming seasons. See you in Spring!

August 6

With the osprey chicks recently fledged, this update on the season is provided by our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:

Because of the osprey platform relocation, our first view of the nest in late June revealed the two chicks in their “reptilian” stage, where they looked like stubby, feathered dinosaurs! After a month of good feedings and great attention from their parents, we can fast forward to August, where there are now two fully grown osprey fledglings.

Osprey Bonner

Bonner on the field.

Not that fledging – that is, taking their first flights – did not come without a misadventure. The first chick to fledge was Bonner, named after the county Sandpoint is located in. We believe because of size and chest speckles that Bonner is a female. She was seen taking off the nest the morning of July 29, and after some concern by nest watchers about her absence she turned up down on the field, perched on tall piles of building material that were there as part of the ongoing field renovation.

Osprey Bonner

Bonner closeup.

Bonner spent a lot of time there and eventually (and not so gracefully) flew up and landed on the web cam, where she stayed all night until the next morning when she landed back in the nest – right atop her sibling, in fact.

Her sibling, Benewah, is named after the county where Birds of Prey Northwest is located. We believe Benewah to be a male, as he is smaller in size and has very few speckles on his chest which are typical of males. Benewah also fledged, the same day as Bonner but in the evening, and just did a fly-around before landing gracefully back in the nest

Osprey chicks Bonner and Benewah

Bonner and Benewah.

Both chicks have been seen at the nest every day, although they don’t always sleep there at night.

With ospreys typically migrating the end of August to mid-September, there is still time to enjoy their visits to the nest where they will either be eating, sleeping, or just hanging out!

June 27

Sandpoint Idaho ospreysHere are today’s glad tidings: Final connections were at last accomplished at the web cam and our streaming video has been restored! During the three months the cam was down offline, as we can now see, our industrious osprey pair built a sturdy nest on the new platform and have produced two good-looking chicks – which are already big, at likely three-plus weeks old.

Major thanks are due to the many partners in getting the osprey nest and web cam relocated, as was necessitated when the light standard that formerly held the nest was removed due to the renovations at Memorial Field. City of Sandpoint officials and staff in parks and recreation and engineering made the nest relocation a priority; Avista Utilities provided major support with the new pole installation and financial contribution; work was accomplished by crews on the field from the city,  Colvico, Inc., Ron’s Electric, Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology and Ethan Roberts of Keokee, producers of Sandpoint Online. Northland Communications provides the Internet connection. A huge THANKS to all.

Costs for video equipment and operations are donated by Sandpoint Online. Osprey fans who would like to chip in to this community effort can click the “Contribute” button above – and all contributions are much appreciated.

And as we launch into summer, we can now appreciate these magnificent birds of prey … and let’s keep our fingers crossed for a healthy and happy season for our ospreys at Memorial Field.

June 19

With the web cam down all spring for the renovation work under way at Memorial Field, osprey fans could only wonder what might be hatching up in that new nest on the lakeshore. Today we got power to the pole and fired up the web cam for the first time, and got the answer: Two chicks!

The osprey arrived on schedule in April and promptly set about building a nest at their new home … but with field construction in progress the underground conduit and new power and Internet cables were only installed today. Today a crew from Ron’s Electric pulled the new fiber cable to the pole, and Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology booted up the web cam to provide the first view in the nest.

Our quick peek into the nest showed two good-looking chicks, and we caught a bit of feeding. Restoration of the Internet remains to finish early next week … at which time the real-time streaming video from the osprey cam will again be available. Here’s wishing a good season to Memorial Field’s resident osprey pair. And check back to this page early next week to see the live osprey action.

For a few more photos of today’s work, click to the Sandpoint Online Facebook post.

April 8

Here’s an update on the new nesting season just to get under way from our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:

Just like clockwork, ospreys have arrived at Memorial Field! The first osprey reported being seen by our ground nest watchers was April 5. It is comforting to know during this time of uncertainty for us humans, where time seems to be standing still due to the coronavirus outbreak, that the ospreys are continuing with their life cycle unhindered. They don’t need to practice social distancing, no lines for fish, and soon they will begin to build their nest and start another family.

Osprey lake nest at Memorial Field, Sandpoint Idaho.

The new “lake nest” at Memorial Field.

The biggest decision they will have to make is whether to choose the new “lakefront property,” with its great view and (not coincidentally for us osprey fans) the live webcam – or be city slickers and take the “street nest” platform on the other side of Memorial Field along Ontario Street.

One of the first osprey on the field was checking both nest sites on April 6, shown in these photos. Field watchers subsequently spotted an osprey pair bringing sticks to the new lake nest.

Osprey street nest at Memorial Field, Sandpoint Idaho.

“Street nest” on Ontario Street.

The lakefront nest is new this year because the light pole that formerly hosted the nest platform with the webcam was previously located in midfield. But with construction to install new turf on the field, the old light pole was removed. A new pole – with no lights, just for the ospreys – was generously donated by Avista and erected by the City of Sandpoint at the new location right along the lake. To see some photos from that project, click to the Sandpoint Online Facebook post.

Osprey nest with a view, in Sandpoint Idaho.

That’s a nest with a view… and a cam!

While the new pole with all the cam equipment was erected in February in order to avoid disturbance at the nest once the ospreys arrived, as part of the bigger project on the filed the city must still trench and install conduit to bring the power and Internet connection to the cam. Complications due to the coronavirus restrictions on activity may slow work, but the city currently expects that trenchwork to be complete in May – which is when we will be able to again activate the nest cam. Stay tuned!

February 22

For followers of the ospreys at Memorial Field, this is a report on a big change under way with the nesting platform at the field.

The web cam here was placed on a nesting platform when a new light array was erected in Autumn 2011. This year, however, the city is doing a major reconstruction of Memorial Field that includes redesigning the baseball playing fields, installing artificial turf, and moving the pole on which the osprey’s nesting platform is located.

City crews are installing a new 90-foot pole, donated by Avista Utilities, in a location about 300 feet east of the current light pole and right on the lake shore. As part of the project the city will dig in a new conduit for the power and Internet cabling to the new pole and place the web cam back up at the platform. The project will provide an opportunity to do some improvements to how the camera is configured and to fix past issues with sound and intermittent outages.

The work to erect the new pole and nest platform will take place in early to mid March, to be concluded before the osprey return from their southern migration. The Memorial Field ospreys consistently arrive in the first week of April each spring. If all goes well the cam will be back online for their arrival; if trenching in the new conduit takes a bit longer, we’ll be able to finish connecting up the camera from the ground without disturbing the new nest platform.

Kudos to city officials for taking all this extra effort for the osprey nest and the web cam.

Ospreys have a high fidelity to their nesting location, and return to the same nest year after year. With this move there is no guarantee they’ll use the nesting platform in its new location.

But we’ll do our best to make a very inviting home for the ospreys to return to – and we will keep our fingers crossed, that the osprey get back safely from their long migration and take back up in the new location. Stay tuned!

August 29

It’s been an eye-opening season! (Screen capture by Cindi Collins Johnson)

With the season almost done for our ospreys before they migrate south, here’s a recap by our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:

The 2019 season has gone by so quickly and for us nest watchers it feels like an ending. For Pete and Sandy’s offspring it is a beginning…

Dover, the youngest of the two osprey chicks took her first flight on July 31 at 55 days old and Sagle, not to be outdone, fledged the following day, August 1 at 56 days old. Now both chicks are flying and gone from the nest more and more, but still visit it often. One was spotted attempting to fish! You can find them in the nest together, but they no longer sleep in the nest overnight.

There have been other ospreys flying around, and both Dover and Sagle fiercely protect their nest, together, from intruders. Each day brings them closer to beginning their new lives away from their parents and becoming independent adults.

We should still be able to enjoy them for another week or so until they decide to start their migration at any day now, or in early September. (Screen captures by Robin Werner)

June 21

Sandpoint osprey mom feeding her chicks

Our osprey couple have a pair of chicks now hatched out and thriving. Nestwatcher Robin Werner writes:

Busy times on the nest now that two of the eggs have hatched. Sandpoint osprey chicks waiting for dinnerOn June 6 nest watchers were treated to not only one hatch but TWO hatches, that came just four hours apart. The first chick, named Sagle, hatched at 10:43 a.m. and the second chick, named Dover, hatched at 2:42 p.m. The third egg is not viable but has remained in the nest for now.

Both Sagle and Dover – named after those two communities adjacent to Sandpoint – are thriving and are currently in the “dino” stage, with a much darker look than the soft, gray, fluff, they started with. They are waddling around and beginning to show some personality. You’ll want to watch everyday as the chicks quickly grow and change.

June 1

Sandpoint osprey pair Sandy and PeteWith our osprey pair, Pete and Sandy,  diligently incubating their eggs the past month, the first chick could hatch anytime this upcoming week. Here is a report from our Nestwatcher Robin Werner:

Osprey eggs in Sandpoint nestOur osprey couple have built a beautiful nest and now have three eggs. The eggs were laid exactly the same dates as last season: April 28, May 1 and May 4. If they stick with the same schedule as last year for hatching we could see our first hatch on June 6.

Keep your eyes peeled and look for any chance to view the eggs. A pip, or small hole, made by the chick’s egg tooth, (which is a small, white, hard point on the chick’s beak), will sometimes be visible and is the first sign that a chick is making its way into the world. The infrared on the cam provides a great contrast at night of black and white. If Sandy shows the eggs you can often see the black hole or cracks and know to keep watching! It won’t be too much longer and our wonderful osprey couple will be very busy, if all goes well, tending to 3 hungry chicks!

April 22
Sandpoint ospreys 'Pete and Sandy'

Osprey pair, Pete and Sandy.

After a malfunction necessitated replacement of the camera April 19 – see post just below – osprey fans tuned in to see housekeeping well under way with the resident pair, who were first observed at the nest on April 11. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek report from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:

Ospreys at Sandpoint nest cam

Enjoying a ‘breakfish’

Our resident adult ospreys, Pete and Sandy, have both returned for another exciting season of, “Days of Our ‘spreys!” The following episodes will continue to air daily: “DIY Nest Building,” “How to Goose a Goose 101,” “Getting to Know You Again (after vacationing separately),” “Fish Again? YES PLEASE!” and “Come Relax With Me While It’s Quiet.”

And stay tuned for three new episodes of, “Just Laid an Egg,” which is anticipated to air any day now.

Hope you enjoy the show! They’ll be here all summer!

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