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  • Location: Missoula, Montana, along the Clark Fork River, United States
  • Source: Cornell Lab Bird Cams
  • Info: Live streaming webcam showing ospreys in Missoula, Montana, United States. The webcam is located at an osprey nest near the mouth of the spectacular Hellgate Canyon. The ospreys catch fish in the nearby Clark Fork River and Rattlesnake Creek.

More info: This Osprey nest in Missoula has a busy location being next to a health care centre, parking lot and a highway but the birds are not bothered by being so close to people and have a prime piece of real estate just 50 feet from the Clark Fork River.

The original osprey nest in Missoula used to be on a power pole about 200 feet west of where it is now. It was a dangerous site as the Ospreys could have been electrocuted, causing fires and power blackouts. In 2007, the current nest platform was erected to provide a safer place for the Ospreys to nest and they took to it immediately.

The female Osprey at this nest is called Iris because she has very distinctive spots on her iris, especially in her left eye. These iris patterns serve as individual barcodes and allow the birds to be identified individually. Iris has nested at the site for many years.

The ospreys in Missoula are part of the Montana Osprey Project which was started in 2007 and has been monitoring about 200 osprey nests in western Montana. Due to the fact that young ospreys eat only fish their parents catch within a few miles of the nest, these young birds reflect the condition of the local fish population and water health.

When the osprey chicks are large enough to band, the researchers use a large bucket truck to get up to the nests. They take very small blood and feather samples from the chicks which are later analysed. The test results give indications of the levels of some of the heavy metals of particular concern in western Montana. The ongoing studies help scientists monitor the status of both the ospreys and the water bodies they depend on.