MISSOULA (AP) — A goose has taken over an osprey nest in Missoula, leaving the birds of prey returning for the summer season homeless and squawking mad.
The Missoulian reports the goose was hunched over her eggs Thursday at the Missoula Osprey’s baseball stadium, vigorously defending the nest on the manmade platform.
The two ospreys have tried building new nests, but they have been blown out of a tree, shooed away from a bank of lights and evicted from a crane and a power pole.
Crews were out Thursday to remove the osprey’s early efforts to build a nest on the pole and placed yellow hoops on other poles in the area to deter future nesting, according to NorthWestern Energy spokesman Butch Larcombe.
“They really need a spot,” said Julie Toenyes, a neighbor who has been observing the birds during twice-daily walks. “I’ve been watching these birds for four years. They’re stressed out right now, squawking and crying almost all day long. They’re frantic.”
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Canada goose eggs incubate 24 to 30 days. Once they’ve hatched, the goose will encourage her young from the nest.
That may come in time to allow the osprey to reclaim the nest, said Rob Domenech of the Raptor View Research Institute.
There has been discussion among NorthWestern Energy, the city of Missoula and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks about erecting another platform for the displaced osprey.
“Right now the decision is to hold off doing that,” Larcombe said. “The plan is to try to buy some time until the geese leave and hope the osprey can go back to their nest.”
Osprey team vice president Matt Ellis issued a news release Thursday that said jokingly there are no plans to change the team name to the Missoula Geese.