Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vacation Ospreys!

While on vacation, I spent some time at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Coincidentally, my brother started his employment in wildlife management at Montezuma (he currently manages a refuge in Washington state) approximately 45 years ago - he is now getting ready to retire from a long and storied career. While at Montezuma, I went to the Tschache Pool, where bald eagles are breeding. I saw my first bald eagle at Montezuma several years ago, back when they were still very rare in these parts. I actually saw one in my hometown earlier this year; they've truly made a spectacular comeback. Here's the Tschache Pool:

I also visited the South Spring Pool. Right across the road, ospreys are raising their young on top of a utility pole:

What road, you ask? Why, this very busy two lane road:

While I was there, some other people pulled up and got out of their car to observe. Then this guy walked across the road and into the field to try and get a closer picture, which did not please momma osprey. It did not please me either, because pretty much the number one rule at wildlife refuges is, do not bug the wildlife. Do not feed the wildlife, do not upset the habitat, and do not try to get closer to a visibly upset animal so you can get a closer picture. Hello - they're called zoom lenses! You might want to try one!

So anyway, this guy is walking closer and closer to the utility pole, and momma osprey is all squawking and flapping her wings, and I did not speak up, because you know what? Ospreys are really big birds. With really big beaks. And I was seriously waiting for momma osprey to go all medieval on this guy's ass, swoop down, and take a big old chunk out of him. There's your vacation souvenir, buddy!

But finally, the guy's wife called to him to stop bugging the damn bird already, and they got back in their car and left. So all's well that ends well, but if momma osprey had swooped down and attacked? I would still be there, rolling on the ground, laughing.

If you would like to check out the live osprey webcam from a nest at the North Spring pool, click here. (Updated to add: On August 5, the babies fledged. So if you are currently clicking, all you'll get is an empty nest. And pretty soon Montezuma will take the web cam down, since looking at an empty nest is pretty boring. Sorry about that! It was fun while it lasted.)

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