INDEPENDENCE, Ore. — As families across Oregon continue to stay at home, high atop a 95-foot tall pole just off the Willamette River a different kind of family is also hunkering down. A pair of osprey – affectionately known as Ollie and Olga – only leave their nest for essential supplies (mainly sticks and fish) and are expecting eggs any day now. A bird’s eye view in stunning hi-definition of their humble habitat and daily activities is now available from the comfort of your home.
The City of Independence and Pacific Power invite children and parents to participate in a unique distance-learning event through weekly, live question and answer sessions with avian and wildlife experts each Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon, beginning April 9. Although the webcam is streaming 24-7, the live events will give participants a chance to maintain social distancing while engaging in a robust conversation and learning experience. The weekly learning sessions and live stream can be accessed at ospreycam.online.
“We’re all in the same situation right now with schools closed and stay-at-home orders in place,” said Courtney Williams, Downtown Manager for the City of Independence. “This is a great way for us engage with each other and to experience these fascinating osprey while learning about their habitat, their important place in the food web and why year-after-year they make their home and raise their family in Independence’s Riverview Park.”
Osprey, never too far from a body of water, build their nests high off the ground away from predators. Sometimes confused for bald eagles, osprey are also considered skilled hunters often diving from heights of 30 to 100 feet to catch fish, which is their primary food. Osprey populations were once threatened due to the use of a then common pesticide, DDT. In the 1970s use of this chemical was banned and osprey populations made a recovery. Manmade structures similar to Ollie and Olgas’ nesting pole have also helped by providing a safe place for the birds to make a home.
Ollie and Olga’s current nesting pole was installed by Pacific Power with help from the City of Independence and The Independence Hotel as a safe place for the osprey to build a nest and raise their chicks during their seasonal stay, according to Eric Kasprzak, senior environmental analyst with Pacific Power.
“We worked closely with the city of Independence to identify a suitable location for the Osprey” said Kasprzak. “This osprey nest platform is a great example of partnership in action and seeing these birds return year after year has given us a direct way to learn a lot about their species in the Willamette Valley.”
Who: City of Independence, Pacific Power, The Independence Hotel and avian and wildlife experts
What: Osprey watch and learn event
When: Weekly beginning Thursday, April 9 from 11 a.m. to noon
Why: For kids and parents to engage with subject matter experts about a unique bird species and its habitat and nesting habits