Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Iris Has Returned to Missoula!

Okay it's been a week now, and this time the nest watchers are sure - Iris has survived the winter and returned to her nest. Iris is a wild Osprey who returns each spring to the Clark Fork River in Missoula to raise her family. It's a modern nest, all things considered, that includes a high-tech streaming web cam so you can watch her family grow - at least during daylight.

Iris arrived on April 2nd this year, but another bird spent some time on Iris' nest earlier in the week, so that fooled everyone at first. Now the nest watchers believe that the first Osprey was a youngster who was prospecting for a new home. That bird didn't behave like a homeowner, and didn't deliver any new sticks to spruce up the nest. Iris, on the other hand, has been busy bringing in new material and rearranging things just so.

Iris arrived in Missoula about the same time last year. Her mate showed up a few days later but was only seen for one day before he disappeared. Iris spent three weeks alone before a new male arrived and paired up with her. Her new beau (playing the role of Robert DeNero) was soon dubbed, "Stanley." Iris and Stanley raised three youngsters in their nest in 2012.

Osprey migration map from western Montana,
Sept. 1st to Oct. 13th, 2012.
Now that she is home again, Iris - and the rest of us - are watching and waiting to see if Stanley also survived the winter.

Behind the webcam: Iris' camera is part of an on-going effort to monitor about 200 Osprey nests in western Montana, by the Raptor View Research Institute. At their website you can learn much more about our local Osprey, including more nest cams, Osprey migration maps from 2012, and even a female Golden Eagle named, "Elaine," who was wearing a satellite transmitter when she left Montana in 2010  and headed for Alaska!

BONUS: you can also check out the Missoula Great Horned Owl and  Long-eared Owl webcams.