Emma ospreys return to old nest in new spot | AspenTimes.com

Emma ospreys return to old nest in new spot

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

EMMA – If the pair of ospreys nesting in Emma have noticed their change of address, they don’t seem to mind.

The birds showed up in Emma, just downvalley from Basalt, last spring and began work on a nest atop a utility pole, but did not actually raise any young there. In December, a Holy Cross crew plucked the nest – a large, interwoven mass of sticks – off the pole and placed it on another one nearby that doesn’t carry live electrical lines.

In the nest’s new location, the impressive birds aren’t in danger of electrocution.

It’s possible the pair will produce young this year, as an osprey can often be seen sitting on the nest of late.

“She sure appears to be incubating,” said Jonathan Lowsky, a wildlife biologist/consultant with Basalt-based Colorado Wildlife Science.

There are also returning pairs of nesting ospreys at Rock Bottom Ranch, between Basalt and El Jebel, and in the Cattle Creek area, between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

The Cattle Creek pair lost their young last year when the cottonwood in which they were nesting was blown into the river. They had taken over an old heron nest in the tree, according to Lowsky, who keeps tabs on the local osprey population. This spring, they’re back, using a nest they’d built previously, he said.

A fourth pair has been spied again this year at Ruedi Reservoir, east of Basalt, but Lowsky wasn’t sure whether the birds are nesting.

Young birds should appear sometime in late May or early June, he said.

Ospreys feed exclusively on fish, and their presence is considered a sign of a healthy river.

Among the birds that are nesting locally, most are perched above the Roaring Fork River. The Emma nest is easy to spot from Highway 82, just upvalley from the historic Emma Store. It’s also located right above the Rio Grande Trail. The ospreys are also visible from lower Two Rivers Road, on the opposite side of the river. When a bird isn’t in the nest, it can frequently be spotted from the Two Rivers Road vantage point, in one of the dead cottonwoods above the river.


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