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Geese found living in osprey nest display at Montana WILD

Posted at 10:06 AM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 12:06:47-04

Montana WILD has a few new tenants this spring as a pair of Canadian geese have taken up residence in the osprey nest display.

The geese flocked to the display about three weeks ago and have nested there since.

While the display is an actual osprey nest, it hasn’t been used by birds of prey since 2015 when it was removed from a dismantled cell tower in the area.

Geese and osprey conflict is not unheard of though.

“In fact in the wild, geese will try to take over an osprey nest. They’ll come in first and they’ll try to take up residence, but when the osprey arrive from their migration they usually reclaim their nest,” explained Laurie Wolf, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Education Program Manager.

The nest at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field, home of the Missoula Osprey baseball club, was taken over by geese for a short period of time in 2013.

Montana WILD asks people to be respectful and give the geese space if they come to see them.

“We get a lot of people that recreate at Spring Meadow, sometimes upwards of 70,000 people a year down there and we do have geese that make that their home as well,“ said Wolf. “We’re asking people not to let their children chase the geese or bother them. Especially when geese have their young  they are spending a lot of energy.”

Wolf also asks anglers to pick up and properly dispose of all fishing line while visiting Spring Meadow State Park since it can greatly harm the wildlife.

Osprey can also be regularly seen at Spring Meadow Lake as well as many other bird species.

“Every year we either have geese or we have gulls — I think two years ago we had a loon that end up with this line wrapped all around them and sometimes even the lure itself,” explained Wolf.

The geese should be in the osprey nest until their young are ready to make their way to Spring Meadow Lake. Osprey can also be regularly seen at Spring Meadow Lake as well as many other bird species.

Montana WILD encourages people to visit their Facebook page and guess when they think the eggs will hatch.

The most accurate predictions will receive an FWP prize such as a poster or wildlife calendar.

On Monday May 6 at 3:30 p.m., Montana WILD will hold a special story time featuring the book, “Honk, Honk, Goose!” in honor of the new residents.

-Reported by John Riley/MTN News