Osprey reunion in the works

Nel may join her mother in the Kootenays as early as this week to join the annual migration of her kind.

Bird care specialists at O.W.L. Rehabilitation Society in Delta are preparing to release Nel, the orphaned osprey that was rescued from a webcam-equipped nest near Nelson earlier this year.

“We are working on release for possibly later this week or early next week,” bird care specialist Mindy Dyck told the Star this morning. “We have to set it up with Pacific Coastal Airlines. We’re hoping to fly staff with her.”

Dyck said Nel’s progress has been heartening since she was moved to a 180-foot enclosure, complete with a trout-stocked pool on August 24, and she’s shaping up to be a healthy and aggressive bird.

“She’s a full-on defensive osprey. She does not like it when you come near her. Her foster mom has taught her how to be a defensive osprey, so there’s no problem of her being imprinted. She’s a firecracker.”

Nel has now taught herself to hunt, said Dyck.

“It’s going well. She’s killing her own fish. She’s ready to go, and we want to get her with her migration. I spoke to the biologist this morning, and she saw the Mom around the nest last week. We’re hoping to catch up to that,” she said.

After arriving in Castlegar, Nel will be transported to the area around her original nest. There will be a minimal number of humans present, to ensure Nel is comfortable.

If they’re able to release Nel in the vicinity of the mother, Dyck said it is “likely” the two will recognize each other and reunite. She said the entire staff is working together to achieve that outcome.

“It’s close,” she said.

TIMELINE

June 12, 13 and 15 -Osprey chicks born

June 20 – A power outage is reported in Grohman Creek. The osprey cam loses service.

June 21 – Online fans speculate about the disappearance of Nelson, the osprey father.

June 23 – Nelson Hydro employees discuss options to help the mother and chicks.

June 24 – Nelson Hydro begins delivering fish to the osprey nest. The first chick dies.

June 25 – Employee discovers Nelson’s corpse under a power line during a ground inspection.

June 26 – Nelson Hydro commits to feed the osprey chicks until they’re fully grown.

July 3 – Second chick dies. Mother osprey stops feeding Nel.

July 4 – Nel is removed from the nest and transported to O.W.L Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta.

July 31 – Nel is moved to an outside enclosure with a foster mother.

August 11 – Nel pounces on her first live trout.

August 24 – Nel is relocated to an outside enclosure with a trout-stocked pool.

August 25 – Nel takes flight for the first time.

September 6 – Nel receives a tracking bad from O.W.L Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.

September 8 – O.W.L. announces plans to reunite Nel with her mother.