After last year’s osprey patriarch was tragically killed by a high-voltage power line, leading to the deaths of two of his chicks and the rescue of a third, Columbia Wireless is once again hosting a webcam perched atop a hydro pole alongside Highway 3A.
And to make sure this year’s birds don’t meet the same fate, they’re taking precautions.
“Nelson Hydro is working now on putting in a separation in the power lines next to the nest, and it’s big enough that a bird won’t be able to touch two lines at one time,” said Columbia Wireless’ owner Ben Leslie.
Leslie said he’s not sure whether the osprey matriarch in the nest is the same bird as last year, but for the moment they’re assuming it is.
“There was a black dot in the iris of the eye of the real Nellie, and we haven’t been able to see it again this year. The new bird looks the same, acts the same and sounds the same, but we’re not quite sure.”
Her nestmate has been dubbed “TR”, which stands for “Trial Run”.
This year Nelson Hydro is not participating in the project, but Leslie said he believes it’s a unique educational opportunity for the community.
“I think it’s a great insight into how a nest works, that people don’t normally get to see. There’s a lot of local schools here who check the eggs at the beginning of every day.”
With 814 followers and over 448,000 views, the cam has once again proved to be popular as Nellie the osprey sits perched on her three eggs, waiting for them to hatch. Viewers can hear cars hurtling by on the highway while she gazes at at Kootenay Lake.
Last year’s surviving osprey, Nel, is not expected to return for years. She was released into Kokanee Creek Park last September.
The webcam has night vision provided by infrared light illuminations.
Birds and humans cannot see infrared light, so the osprey are not bothered at night by the infrared illumination according to the site.
A web chat on the page urges viewers to keep topics osprey-related, and administrators are expecting visits from teachers and students.
Columbia Wireless is raising funds for the webcam. With a target of $16,000, they have so far raised just over $900.
To view the live webcam visit ustream.tv/channel/nelson-osprey-nest.