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Outdoors blog

Mon., July 15, 2013, 6:01 a.m.

Osprey cruise a unique local wildlife experience

BIRD WATCHING --  Tickets for Saturday's osprey viewing cruise on Lake Coeur d'Alene sold out the day after the notice was published, proving word is out that this is a bucket list wildlife opportunity in the Inland Northwest.

The photos came from Carlene Hardt, who wrote this note after taking the cruise:

Thank you for writing about the Osprey Cruise on your blog! I didn't know they did this every year.  There was one Osprey family on their piling nest in Cougar Bay that we watched being banded. The chicks stay in the nest for 8 weeks. I was surprised by their camouflaged coloring and long wings. There were several guest speakers durning our 2 hour cruise.

It was a wonderful way to spend the morning.

While speakers told stories and offered information about these hawks that dive into lakes and river for their meals of fish, the people on the cruise boat could watch osprey expert Wayne Melquist band young osprey in nests along the lake.

Melquist would hold the birds up so people could see the osprey's sharp talons as he attached the band.

The banding day is scheduled before the chicks are old enough to be tempted to bail out of the nest at the approach of a human.

At least 100 osprey pairs nest each year in the Coeur d’Alene Lake region including the lower reaches of the St. Joe and Coeur d’Alene Rivers. 

Adult osprey along with the young of the year birds begin their annual migration in mid-September. The bands have helped researchers document their travel all the way to Baja California, Central America, and many all the way to South America. The adults return in late winter/early spring to the area where they originally hatched. 

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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