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.