… 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 .
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 ourNestwatcher 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)
Our osprey couple have a pair of chicks now hatched out and thriving. Nestwatcher Robin Wernerwrites:
Busy times on the nest now that two of the eggs have hatched. On 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.
With 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 ourNestwatcher Robin Werner:
Our 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!
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 fromRobin Werner, our leadSandpoint Online Nestwatcher:
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!
Success up high! After a malfunction knocked out our nest cam the past several months – and then rains rendered the field too soft for the big ladder truck – today a small but intrepid crew was able to get up and replace the camera. Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology donated his hands-on expertise to replace the camera.
“Best part for me was enjoying the bird’s eye view of the osprey flying in close around us while we worked on the camera,” Kerry said afterwards. “Both birds kept a close watch on us and returned shortly after we completed all.”
Here is a huge THANKS to Kerry for the camera install and the overall masterminding required to make it work. And big thanks to many others, as well: It wouldn’t be possible to even get up to the nest without Dennis McIntire and the tall ladder truck of Bestway Tree Service. Northland Communications and Bala Bishop ensure that the camera has its current excellent high-bandwidth Internet connection. The project also wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of the City of Sandpoint‘s Kim Woodruff, Austin Hull and others in the Parks and Recreation Department. And for her oversight to ensure the ospreys’ health and safety, a big shout out to raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp, director of Birds of Prey Northwest.
Thanks again to all. The new camera is getting great bandwidth and the picture and sound are better than ever.
No tax money is used for the equipment or operations of the cam. Want to help keep the cam going? Click to contribute.
Who knows, maybe this our eighth season with the cam will be the best ever! But knock on wood … as watchers of the nest well know, Mother Nature gets the last word. What we can do is observe this amazing natural spectacle, and cheer on our osprey pair in their season ahead.
Kerry Berg troubleshooting camera connections at our on-field Internet node.
Update for osprey fans: Although the osprey are expected back at any time as of this writing, unfortunately we have a camera malfunction that is keeping the nest cam offline. On Tuesday our cam specialist Kerry Berg of Video Security Technology – who has donated past expertise to the nest cam – conducted troubleshooting on the field. We believe we have isolated the trouble up at the camera itself, but to replace the camera we are coordinating with Dennis McIntire of Best Way Tree Service to utilize his tall bucket truck to get up to the nest. Tentatively we’ll conduct the repairs on April 11-12, but if rainy weather persists the field may be too soft for the truck. We’ll post an update here as we have news to report. To see a bit more, plus some photos, click to our Facebook page»
Taking 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.
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.
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.
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.
The osprey chicks got new bracelets today, inProject 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!