The Sandpoint Osprey Cam at Memorial Field

Hello! Welcome to the Sandpoint, Idaho osprey cam, watching the nest at Memorial Field.
Project Osprey Banding conducted July 13 was a success! See video in Nest Notes below.

Live viewers

The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online, with support from Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Janie Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest. Maintenance help by Bestway Tree Service. Technical help by Video Security Technology. Camera upgrade supported by Lake Pend Oreille Cruises. Cam bracket built by Selkirk Welding. Perch provided by Stan Bryant. 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 to two active osprey nests – 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. Check out this incredible fishing video. Thanks to Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest, 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. The new light standards soar 90 feet above the field, and placing the web cam was a project unto itself. Read about the project»

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 contributed, including Ron’s Electric staff; Thorco Electric; local birder Rich DelCarlo; architect Sean Fitzpatrick and CTA Architects .

Sandpoint Osprey Nest Observations

  • Brightlight
    (Thu, Mar 21. 2019 07:23 PM PDT)
    For Robin – kept an eye on Longmont part of the day, none seen. Boise! they are getting closer! I still think Pete comes up the west coast, watching for storms there. 😎
  • Robin
    (Fri, Mar 22. 2019 10:21 AM PDT)
    For Brightlight – I hope they travel well, sure would love to see them…
  • Helen
    (Sat, Mar 23. 2019 09:37 AM PDT)
    another day closer for pete and sandy to get here
  • B G
    (Sat, Mar 23. 2019 10:12 AM PDT)
    For Brightlight -Oh gosh, I’m so excited to have them back again! Hope the nest is ready for them & the cam will be up & operating well-fingers crossed.
  • Brightlight
    (Sat, Mar 23. 2019 12:09 PM PDT)
    For B G – Thor has the Pillows fluffed and the covers turned down. Robin has Pic’s the little detail of the Cam remains. fingers crossed! 😎

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BLOG/NEST NOTES

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November 21

Osprey nest maintenance 2018Taking advantage of small window of excellent weather, our crew got up to the web cam for some annual maintenance on November 20. In the bucket is Landon Otis of Keokee and Sandpoint Online, installing some new equipment, with Dennis McIntire of Bestway Tree Service operating the bucket. The maintenance was financed thanks to a fundraising cruise provided by Linda Mitchell of Lake Pend Oreille Cruises; the cruise also raised funds for a donation to Birds of Prey Northwest, whose director Janie Veltkamp acts as consulting biologist for the nest. Huge THANKS to Linda and Lake Pend Oreille Cruises, as well as Dennis and Bestway.

See more photos at Sandpoint Online Facebook»

September 21

Here’s a wrapup of the 2018 season at the Memorial Field osprey nest, submitted September 14 by Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher Robin Werner:

After fledging, Koko fiercely kept siblings from the nest. Capture by Dante Vassey.

It’s that time of the year that nest watchers greet with a combination of happiness and sadness. Empty nest syndrome has hit fans of the osprey nest, as Pete and Sandy and their trio of chicks have begun their migration south for their winter vacation. Pete and Sandy will vacation separately and hopefully return next April to introduce us to a new set of offspring. The chicks from this year – Kamloops, Kokanee and Koi – will find a place down south that suits them and stay there for a year until they return, typically in their second year, to begin their lives as adult osprey.

This season once again, Pete and Sandy showed what excellent parents they are, raising three healthy chicks. This is only the second time since the cam was installed in 2012 that three chicks from a clutch have all survived and fledged; the first time was in 2015.

Dad Pete waits with fish. Capture by Dante Vassey.

While there were thankfully no tragedies in the nest this season, we did learn some new things from observing this family. We discovered that females will intentionally cover the eggs with some grass and leave the nest; also, at night when the chicks are small, females will leave and even come back with a fish in the dark.

Younger chicks, even if they are female can fledge before their older siblings. Most surprising was the middle chick, Kokanee, fiercely kept her siblings from returning to the nest later in the season and claimed it as her own. For that reason we don’t know when Kamloops and Koi finally departed for their southern migration.

Mom Sandy makes a fish delivery. Capture by Sheila Ward Walters.

Sandy was last seen on the nest September 7, dropping a fish off for Koko, and Pete continued to feed Koko until he and Koko were last seen on the nest September 10.

The 2018 osprey season is over, but the joy they leave behind never ends. Expect to see the ospreys return from their southern sojourn at end of March or early April 2019. Meantime, the cam will be operating during the winter season for those who wish to catch a glimpse of our fair town.

August 15

After an eventful – and fruitful – nesting season, the young chicks have taken flight. To celebrate, here is the nest report from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:

Chicks share nest time.

The osprey chicks at Memorial Field are winging it and can now be called Fledglings! The first chick to take flight came as some surprise as it was the youngest of the three, 57-day-old Koi, who took flight on August 5 followed two days later by the oldest chick, at 62 days old, Kamloops, on August 7. Nest watchers waited and wondered for five more days when the middle chick, 66-day-old, Kokanee, finally took flight on August 12!

Up to now, the average age for fledging at this nest has been 56 days. That now has changed! If you look at the cam and see an empty nest, don’t despair, the fledglings are flying about, perching in new areas and are probably becoming interested in how to get their own tasty fish from Lake Pend Oreille.

Koko arrives!

You will see them fly into the nest from time to time, begging for food from parents Pete and Sandy, or sleeping there at night until they migrate. That will most likely be sometime the first or second week in September.

Pete or Sandy could leave sooner than that so you’ll want to enjoy every opportunity you can to see them at the nest before they head out!

With the chicks fledged, this is a common sight now at the nest. But watchers will see them visit, and the parents will also still be feeding the young ones as they learn to fly.

 

July 13

The osprey chicks got new bracelets today, in Project Osprey Banding. Check this video of the banding! (Click the YouTube icon to go see it larger.)

Biologist Dr. Wayne Melquist did the banding, in a project kicked off in large part by osprey supporter Linda Mitchell with Lake Pend Oreille Cruises. Dennis McIntire of Bestway Tree Service provided the bucket truck needed to reach the next 100 feet up. Other contributors to the project included  the City of Sandpoint Parks & Recreation Department and Janie Fink Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest. Video by Landon Otis of Keokee and Sandpoint Online. THANKS to all involved!

June 11

And then there were … five! The nest is full, as our osprey pair, Pete and Sandy, have successfully hatched all three eggs. Here is the nest report from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:

Sandpoint ospreys - koi in shell

Koi exiting shell.

You might have heard thunder this weekend as storms hit our area – or you might have been hearing the thunderous cheers as nestwatchers greeted Pete and Sandy’s three chicks hatching over the course of just four days! At 9:40 a.m., on Wednesday, June 6, the first chick popped out of its egg just as Pete sat down to incubate. He was quite surprised, but took on the duties of protection as the chick exited its shell.

Just 16 hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, the second chick hatched at 1:38 a.m. on June 7. Three days later, Egg No. 3 hatched at 2:26 p.m.

Sandpoint osprey chicks

All three chicks

Nest fans have dubbed the new trio of chicks with names of some of the local fish they’ll likely be thriving on: Kamloops, Kokanee, and … Koi. While koi is not a fish found in our Lake Pend Oreille, the youngest chick’s name is a homage to Pete, who has been an industrious provider the past couple years by bringing koi to the chicks. Nest watchers surmise he has been catching the koi from a nearby residential koi pond.

Pete has been bringing very nice-sized fish to his family and the chicks have been well cared for. Watch every day as the chicks change quickly. Soon they will get darker and look like little dinosaurs!

Click to go to a video clip of Koi hatching free after the epic effort it takes for a chick to break out of its shell. The video, which appears like stop-motion due to the web cam’s speed constraints, is on the Sandpoint Osprey Nest Friends Facebook page, posted by Uta Große:

Sandpoint ospreys video screen

May 5

Sandpoint ospreys with three eggs

After their arrival first spotted on April 7, the osprey pair have industriously rebuilt their nest and have egg hatching under way. Here’s an update from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:

‘Egg’cellent news! In just 19 days after arriving, our osprey couple, Pete and Sandy, built a beautiful nest, and then laid their first egg on April 28, at 11:43 p.m.

The second and third eggs followed three days apart on May 1 and May 4, respectively. Ospreys only rarely produce more than three eggs. Now Pete and Sandy have settled down to the business of incubating their eggs and fending off geese, other ospreys and even eagles that dare to enter their fly zone!

If all things go normally, the average hatch day for the first egg here is 37 days; that means, we could see the first chick sometime in the first week in June!

Here are a few screen shots grabbed during the nest building to show how quickly the pair built their nest – including a last attempt by a pair of geese to pirate the nest, before the vigilant ospreys chased them away:

Sandpoint ospreys begin nest building, April 9, 2018

April 11

With the ospreys returning from their migrations south, here’s an update from Robin Werner, our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher:

Exciting times for nest watchers as ospreys arrived at the nest on Saturday, April 7! The platform was first visited by two females, neither of which were our resident female, Sandy. On April 8 a male appeared and brought some grass to the nest area – as well as some questions as to whether or not he was Sandy’s mate from previous seasons, Pete.

By April 9, all doubts were resolved as Sandy flew onto the platform, followed by the male with a good view for us to identify the distinctive markings of Pete (photo above).

The couple appear very comfortable together and are taking occasional breaks from their nest building by gazing around on the new perch that we installed just this season. Enjoy watching the season as the nest gets built in preparation for eggs!

Screen captures, top by Stan Bryant; and below, Robin Werner. Thank you!

March 19

As we begin the 2018 season – our seventh here for the Sandpoint Osprey Cam! – we’re pleased to announce that Robin Werner is joining as our lead Sandpoint Online Nestwatcher to help us better monitor activity and respond to needs that arise with the web cam. Robin provides this update to get us started:

Goose in Sandpoint osprey nest March 2018Are you ready for some ospreys? Welcome to the 2018 osprey season! While our resident osprey pair, which we have affectionately dubbed Pete and Sandy, have yet to return, we are anticipating their arrival around the first week of April. Last year the first osprey was seen on the platform April 2, and it was a passerby, not Pete or Sandy. Keep your eyes open and if you spot an osprey on the platform, please share with us via our Osprey Nest Observations chat above.

In the meantime, you’ll most likely see geese (like this one we caught today) hoping for more than a few sticks to appear so they can claim the nest site for themselves, as well as other visitors passing by!

November 10

As in previous years, the 2017 season at the nest provided its own unique story for the osprey pair that nest watchers have dubbed “Sandy and Pete.” This synopsis of the season was provided by frequent nest watcher Robin Werner.

The 2017 season started out different than prior seasons, with Sandy arriving first on April 4, and Pete a few days later on April 7. After quickly reacquainting themselves, the pair began nest production and had the nest in good usable condition before the  first egg was laid May 1. Sadly, four days later Pete brought in a dead potted plant and covered that egg making it nonviable.

But the ospreys persisted. Sandy laid her second egg on May 6, and her third egg on May 9. On June 11 the first chick of the season hatched, followed by the second chick on June 13. Nest watchers named the chicks Huckleberry and Spud, after popular treats from Idaho.

The chicks were well attended by both parents and continued to thrive, taking their first flights from the nest – that is, fledging – on August 5 and August 9.

Raising some concern among nest watchers, Pete was not seen on the cam after August 24, which was early for him to leave. That could portend tragedy, or as nest watchers hope, Pete may have been feeding one of the chicks away from the nest or may have simply migrated early.

Sandy continued to feed both chicks at the nest, with Huckleberry last being seen on September 10. Spud and Sandy were last seen September 16.

Stay tuned as we eagerly await to see if both Pete and Sandy return in 2018!

– Robin Werner

July 6

Update from Janie Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest, on the two chicks rescued from the Ontario Street nest July 4 (see that post below for details). The chicks are now in the care Veltkamp’s group at BOPNW:

The young osprey chicks are 2½ and 3 weeks old. Initially upon admission they were in shock and hungry. Remember, they spent an afternoon and a night without parental care after their parents perished. They are stable now and being fed every 2-3 hours. On Saturday they will go in with the foster parent osprey here at Birds of Prey NW.

Special thanks to Dennis at Bestway Tree Service, Chris Bessler, Judi Lundak and her daughter Mya Jinright for the critical roles they played in the rescue.

We were charged $250 for the service. Please donate to their care and rescue! Use our Paypal button on our website: www.birdsofpreynorthwest.org. We greatly appreciate any donation!

Janie Veltkamp
Excecutive Director, Birds of Prey Northwest

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