Thanks to volunteers Vic, Doug, and Janet that helped Kay feed the osprey while in the hack tower. Below are their comments and photos.
All posts in date order:
Kay placed the four young osprey in the hack tower. The weather forecast was for hot and humid conditions through the weekend so several trips were made back to the tower to mist the birds down to help keep them cool. These birds are older than birds released in previous years so the tower doors will be open soon. **2010 band numbers are: UR, UC, UH, and UU.**
Kay met up with Marla from Marion County Conservation to give her the other four young osprey and these birds should be in their tower by nightfall.
The gates on the hack tower were opened in the morning. Much to our chagrin, three of the four birds flew from the tower (UR, UC, and UH). The picture here is of the tower gates being opened in 2008.
After the evening feeding, UH was spotted on the ground near the tower. This bird was a bit thin and bruised (maybe from flying into the tower trying to get back to feed) and was taken back to SOAR for monitoring and feeding. Maybe this young'un wasn't quite ready to fly?! The two older birds (UR and UC) have not been spotted at the tower when volunteers have been there to feed. UU is still sitting on the edge of the tower and hopefully will stay put. We'll try to coax UU back inside and close the gates on Friday.
Volunteers Vic, Doug, and Elizabeth closed the gates on the tower in the evening.
From Vic: After feeding UU inside the tower, I looked around for the older birds (UR and UC)...still no sign of them. UU will be on it's own until UH is strong enough to go in the tower again. It's been quite hot and humid lately, so have taken a spray-bottle of water up with the food and misted UU to help the bird stay cool.
Volunteers Janet and son Colton put UH back in the tower with UU this morning. When Vic fed in the evening he reported that both birds appeared lively and alert. On a not-so-positive-note, the other two osprey have not been spotted yet near the tower.
Vic reports that both birds were calm today. With a temperature of 83 and a nice breeze, there was so need for misting. There were eight turkey vultures waiting on top of tower when I got there. Last year the osprey hacked from the tower would chase off the turkey vultures, but with no sign of UR and UC that is not happening this year. It's a catch-22 situation where we don't want to stop leaving fish on top of the tower for the osprey that have already flown from the tower, but we don't really want to feed the turkey vultures either! The picture at left is from 2006 when turkey vultures were caught feeding by the trail camera. Also caught on camera that year, besides the osprey, were red-tailed hawks.
The gates on the tower were reopened in the morning. UH flew right away and landed in a tree close to the tower. UU stayed in the tower.
UU flew out this morning as the feeding crew was coming back off the tower. UU flew quite a ways...over the pond, north across the highway and over the golf course. While this distance is not unusual, we have our fingers crossed that this bird knows it's "home" is the tower. If the weather cooperates, the trail camera will be installed on the tower roof this afternoon. Still no sign of UR and UC, the birds that flew from the tower on 21 July.
Vic reports good news!! An osprey was sighted today.Vic said, "Doug (another feeding volunteer) called me about 2 pm and there was one osprey on the tower with about 10 vultures." Vic went out later with a spotting scope to try and identify which one of the errant youngsters it was. Vic said, "I was only able to see one 'U' on the band."
This bird flew as Vic went up to put out more fish, and settled in a tree about three-quarters of a mile away. It was still in the same tree when Kay showed up at 5:30 pm. She thought we were seeing things (this Iowa heat and humidity can do that to a person!) until she saw it in the scope, too. The trail camera that Kay and helpers installed will hopefully help us identify who is coming to feed on the tower.
Hats off to Doug for taking a hike through the area as this bird may not have been spotted today!
Doug ID'd the osprey he saw in the am as UU. It was on the tower with the vultures. When I (Vic) got there just before 1 pm the osprey was perched on the tree just west of the tower. I put fresh food on top of the tower and went to the observation shelter. I was there for about an hour, then I saw UU fly over the tower then headed south, then circled back across the tower to the tree. I waited a little longer then hiked down to see if it was still there and it flew in from the south again. I got some shots with the camera then left.
Kay had a volunteer from ISU and an AmeriCorps crew member with her today. They found UU waiting at the hack tower this afternoon. They also checked the trail camera, hoping to identify the birds (hoping some might be our errant young'uns) and the camera was picture less! So they brought back the camera for checking over...UGH.
Only UU has been spotted near the tower. Feeding will continue. If anyone spots and can identify any of the three other released birds, please let us know. Purple bands with UR, UC, or UH.
UU waited "patiently" in a tree near the tower for the nightly carp deposit the night of the annual fundraiser and bird release. Once Vic placed fish on the tower and was gone, UU flew in, snatched a hunk of fish, and was off!
New osprey nest sighted!
A member of the Loess Hills Audubon Society spotted raptors flying to a cell phone tower in Monona County. Upon further look, one adult with a silver US Fish & Wildlife Service band, and two juvenile osprey were spotted on and near the tower. The tower has a nest structure in it. Below are photos taken in 2008 of another osprey nest in Woodbury County near Brown's Lake on top of cell tower.
Hack tower closed up, and no more feedings as it had been over a week since UU was sighted. She is (hopefully) already in Texas or Mexico on her way to South America. The next task is to evaluate nest structure placement and determine if more nest towers are needed or if the current nest structures just need to be relocated.