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This the fifth year that “Our” Ospreys have occupied the platform nest on the Yampa River at the Yampa River Botanic Park, so they are now experienced parents. They returned early, on April 1, he first and she one day later, after 9 months apart fishing the waters of South America.
From their actions we believe she laid eggs earlier than in recent years, and they were lucky with the weather; no mid-May snow and ice-storm that cooled the eggs a couple of years ago, resulting in no chicks. Their actions of standing together and looking down into the nest signaled that at least one chick had hatched early, but after five years of adding to the height of the nest, we could not see all of the chicks until a few days ago.
Now it can be told; there are 4 seemingly healthy chicks! The male has had to bring fish for the female from the day she started sitting on eggs and now he has to feed five hungry mouths until the last chick migrates in late August. If the fish supply diminishes for any reason; a fish die-off due to low water in the Yampa, competition from a nearby Osprey nest, sickness or injury of the male, there may not be enough food and not all the chicks will survive. If the female leaves the nest, the chicks would be easy prey for a passing Bald Eagle so she almost never leaves the nest unguarded, so she would face a problem if there were a shortage of fish.
Did you know tree swallows can eat their body weight in mosquitoes everyday? The Park has 10 nesting boxes sized just for swallows using U.S. Fish and Wildlife design guidelines. According to Park Founder Bob Enever in his book: “Birds of Steamboat Springs & Northwest Colorado,” swallows migrate in large flocks and breed abundantly in Routt County. They nest in existing tree cavities at up to 10,000 feet but they adapt well to nesting boxes like the ones at the Park.
Come out and watch the swallows swooping around the Park as they busily feed and fledge their young. Stop by the Trillium House and pick up one of Bob’s books for a suggested donation of $30 which goes directly back into the running of the Park!