The osprey nest in Emma is ready for prime time.
An osprey cam, as it has been dubbed, was installed last December by a Holy Cross Energy crew. With the camera, viewers can keep tabs on the goings-on in the nest whenever they like. Go to www.pitkincounty.com/osprey to find the live feed.
“We’ve been waiting for the birds to return. They apparently showed up this past weekend,” said Gary Tennenbaum, assistant director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. “They come and go from the nest, so you never know when you’ll see one hanging out. One of our staffers saw one of the birds with a fish in its talons this morning.
The nest, relocated to a safe site from an adjacent live power pole several years ago by Holy Cross, looks out over Highway 82 near the old Emma Store and adjacent Victorian house. The Emma buildings and the nest are both located on open space. While passersby on the highway have a clear view of the nest, the camera is perched high enough to give viewers a peek inside the massive, woven pile of sticks. A breeding pair of ospreys has returned to the site each spring for several years and has successfully fledged their young there.
Viewers should expect to see the ospreys prepping the nest when they first return, followed by the laying of eggs and, after the hatchlings emerge, the rearing of the young birds. Ospreys, also known as fish hawks, feed almost exclusively on fish, and the adult birds will bring food to feed the nestlings. The Roaring Fork River is close by and one or both osprey can often be spotted on perches overlooking the water.
“I think it’s going to get a ton of interest,” Tennenbaum said. “We’re hoping people will share their observations with us if they see something extraordinary – like an eagle swooping in to nab one of the nestlings or something.”
The camera and related gear cost about $8,000. Open Space and Trails, Pitkin County Healthy Rivers and Streams, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the county’s Information Technology department have all contributed. Holy Cross has donated the labor and equipment needed to set up and maintain the camera.