Banding of Sandpoint osprey to be livestreamed

By Reader Staff

An incredible opportunity to view a biologist in action at the Memorial Field osprey nest is just days away with the Project Osprey Banding event – and it’s being streamed live on Sandpoint Online’s osprey webcam for all to watch. 

A still frame from the osprey camera. Image courtesy SandpointOnline.com.

Viewers can log on to www.SandpointOspreys.com next Friday, July 13, at approximately 10 a.m. for this rare, up-close glimpse as professional biologist Wayne Melquist hops aboard a Bestway Tree Service bucket along with Dennis McIntire to the Memorial Field osprey nest in Sandpoint,   where they will band the three new chicks. 

For viewers who can’t tune in right at 10 a.m., Sandpoint Online will have a recorded clip of the banding available later in the day. Either live or recorded, the action won’t last long: Melquist should be not more than five minutes at the nest, to disturb the osprey family as little as possible.

Bird banding does not hurt or injure the ospreys; it is a non-invasive, long-term method of observing and studying birds without interfering with their natural behavior. This practice provides conservationists and ornithologists with vital information to protect critical bird habitats and pass other conservation measures so birding will always be available to enjoy.

To help fund the project, Lake Pend Oreille Cruises hosts a special fundraising cruise from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, July 13, with all proceeds benefiting Project Osprey Banding. The project was kicked off by Linda Mitchell, co-owner and operator of Lake Pend Oreille Cruises; the special cruise will go by the action from the lake. 

“All ticket proceeds will go to pay for the lift to get Wayne 100 feet in the air to band the chicks, and in the fall to clean the nest,” Mitchell said. “Any funds left over will go to Birds of Prey Northwest,” Mitchell said. “We encourage passengers to bring their iPads and phones, and other devices along to watch the banding online,” she said, referring those interested in learning more about the venture to visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LakePendOreilleCruises.

Also onboard, osprey webcam consulting biologist Janie Veltkamp of Birds of Prey Northwest and her husband Don will be giving a presentation and also bringing smaller birds of prey along on the cruise. And after Melquist bands the birds, he’s planning to join the cruise at Memorial Field and share his extensive knowledge with passengers. It’s a trip you won’t want to miss! Cruise price is $40 per person and 100 percent of ticket sales will pay for the project. RSVP at 208-255-5253 or e-mail [email protected]

The web cam was placed on the Memorial Field nest in fall 2011 by Keokee Co., which produces Sandpoint Online, in collaboration with the city of Sandpoint. The city has been supportive of the project since inception but no taxpayer money is used for the cam equipment or operations, which are provided by Sandpoint Online with support from Avista, Northland Communications and individual osprey fans who contribute through a donor button on the page.

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