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Thursday, January 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Sign up for CdA Lake osprey banding cruise

Osprey expert Wayne Melquist bands young osprey in nests along Lake Coeur d'Alene as the feature attraction for people aboard the annual osprey cruise boat trip.  (Carlene Hardt)
Osprey expert Wayne Melquist bands young osprey in nests along Lake Coeur d'Alene as the feature attraction for people aboard the annual osprey cruise boat trip. (Carlene Hardt)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- The popular annual Osprey Boat Cruise that follows biologists checking nests and banding young "fish hawks" of the year is set for 9 a.m. on July 11.

 Reserve a seat on the two-hour cruise by calling the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce, (208) 664-3194. 

Don't procrastinate if you want to watch the action, get some good photos and learn a lot of information about ospreys from experts on the boat. The 150 seats usually fill quickly.

Phil Cooper, Idaho Fish and Game Department educator, offers these tidbits of information about osprey and the banding research:

  • At least 100 pairs of these fish-eating hawks nest annually 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, traveling all the way to Baja California, Central America and many all the way to South America. The birds return in late winter/early spring to the area where they originally hatched.
  • Information on migration patters and survival rates of Coeur d'Alene-area ospreys has been gathered for more than 25 years by University of Idaho and the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
  • have been studying and banding ospreys at Coeur d’Alene Lake for over 25 years. The work is done to determine survival and mortality rates and to further define the migration patterns and wintering areas of the population.
  • Pre-flight osprey are taken briefly from nests just before fledging as parent birds fly around and screech their disapproval. A band with a unique number is quickly applied to one leg, and the 6-7 week old birds are placed back in the nests.
  • Parent osprey immediately return to the nests and continue raising their offspring.

The cruise will leave from the east side of the Coeur d'Alene Resort boardwalk by Tubbs Hill and McEuen Park.

Cost is $15 for adults. Children under 12 are free when with a paying adult. A family rate of $35 covers two adults and three children up to age 18. Seniors and students are $10.

Speakers on the cruise boat will include wildlife biologists and avian experts.




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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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