Osprey cam enraptures viewers with hatching, feeding of chicks | PostIndependent.com

Osprey cam enraptures viewers with hatching, feeding of chicks

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
A male osprey, left, feeds fish Monday to one of the chicks in a nest at Emma while the female looks on. She guards and nest while he provides fish for meals.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails/courtesy photo |

Emma’s newest residents already have a fan club even though they are less than a week old.

It appears that two osprey chicks hatched sometime around May 30 in a nest near the old Emma store. Their upbringing is being caught live by a camera erected by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Holy Cross Energy and partners in December 2015. The video can be viewed at http://www.pitkincounty.com/osprey.

“The Emma ospreys have been quite busy this morning,” open space officials posted on Facebook the morning the first chick emerged. “The center of attention is tiny and wriggling. We think we have a chick!”

Last year the eggs were duds, but the osprey returned to the nest this spring.

On May 31, open space posted another photo that showed the new mom feeding bits of fish to two hungry chicks. The fish was a special delivery from the male while the female stood guard at the nest.

Karen Schroyer, the U.S. Forest Service’s Aspen-Sopris District ranger, is among the viewers enraptured by the raptors.

“This is so cool to see live,” she wrote recently in a post to the open space program’s Facebook page. “I just watched one of the adults fly in with a big fish for dinner!”

Lynn Lubell uses the osprey cam to keep tabs on the birds and their babies from Florida, where she spends most of the year. She said she learned of the site about a year ago when she was searching the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails site for information about hikes. She was familiar with the nest site because she and her husband had passed it many times while in the Roaring Fork Valley.

During the nesting season, she and her husband both check the osprey cam as many as a dozen times per day, “especially now with the babies being fed,” she said.

“Our enthusiasm is contagious and friends, work colleagues and family members — including my 85-year-old mom — living in Florida and Colorado are hooked,” Lubell said by email. She is eager to return to Colorado later this month and get firsthand glimpses of the nest as well.

There is even a closed group on Facebook that tracks the progress of the raptors and discusses what they see. Pitkin County Osprey Cam in Emma, CO has 54 members, according to Facebook.

Open Space and Trails director Gary Tennenbaum said he isn’t surprised by the popularity. He gets comments all the time from people who tracked the progress of the eggs and now the chicks. He said it is the most popular feature on the Pitkin County government website.

“People are really pumped that we finally have chicks,” Tennenbaum said.

Osprey have consistently returned to the Emma Open Space for years after a pair built a nest on a power pole close to the Roaring Fork River. Pairs mate for life, and their natural life span is 15-20 years.

The open space program, Holy Cross and partners installed the camera for its educational value. It is on a pole about 20 feet away from the nest.

scondon@aspentimes.com