Living in the wild can be tough and competitive.
For instance, the osprey is a Boulder County bird species of concern as they are on the “isolated and restricted” list. The City of Boulder Parks and Recreation department built two platforms just north of the Boulder Reservoir main entrance for them to build their nests. This spring, both platforms were taken over by geese, leaving the ospreys in need of a new home.
The ospreys started building a new nest on a nearby electric pole, south of the Reservoir entrance along the road. This is quite dangerous as the bird’s wingspan is long enough for it to touch two wires and cause electrocution. City bird monitor volunteers noticed the situation and let staff know.
“After we found out about the new osprey nesting attempt, I connected with city Open Space and Mountain Parks wildlife staff, Xcel Energy, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to see what we could do to help them out,” said Parks and Recreation Ecology Supervisor Joy Master. “We knew we needed to act quickly before the ospreys started laying eggs in the new nest.”
Xcel Energy removed the nesting material from the active power pole several times, hoping the osprey pair would find a safer location, but they were determined and kept rebuilding. Since removing the geese from their eggs on the two existing platforms would be illegal, city staff, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Xcel Energy met onsite to discuss alternatives. They decided to build a new nesting platform for the ospreys.
The new platform needed to have a 400-meter buffer from most land uses, so the group found a new, nearby location within the annual wildlife closure that housed the existing nest platforms. To keep the process moving to help the ospreys, Xcel Energy agreed to meet city staff on a Saturday for the new platform’s installation. They erected a pole and placed a platform with the previous nesting material as the ospreys watched from nearby. Within hours, the ospreys were hanging out on the new platform and building a nest on it.
“This was an amazing and speedy collaboration between multiple organizations to help out the ospreys,” said Master. “My thanks to Senior Wildlife Ecologist Will Keeley, Ecology Technician Nate Schipper, and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer for their expertise and to Xcel Energy for their dedication. Events like this make me proud to work with the City of Boulder.”