Newcomers take wing in Emma, Colorado | AspenTimes.com

Newcomers take wing in Emma, Colorado

Two young osprey hang out in a nest in Emma Tuesday. They took flight last week but they still occasionally return to their birthplace.

Newcomers are spreading their wings in Emma this summer.

Two fledgling osprey, hatched in late May, left the nest by the old Emma store and homestead last week. Images posted by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails indicate the bigger bird launched on or about July 23. The smaller sibling learned to fly roughly four days later.

The action unfolded on a live osprey camera accessed via the open space program's website. Images and video pulled off the recordings create a sort of baby bird book on the program's Facebook page. The camera was live starting in May and will be turned off this month now that the chicks have fledged.

"It's a really cool way for people to interact with nature on their time," said Gary Tennenbaum, executive director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.

The female sat dutifully for weeks after the eggs appeared in May. Speckled clumps were visible into the third week of June, then the hatchlings quickly took shape.

The male bird consistently swooped down to the nest with fish for the family. By July 4 the small balls of feathers looked more like small raptors, and by July 12 it was evident they would soon be leaving home as the birds tested their wings.

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A video posted July 17 shows the chicks making half-hearted attempts to launch. Takeoffs were later recorded, though the chicks weren't ready to leave. By July 27 the nest was empty.

"We expect the birds to return periodically, but the days of the osprey cam action are drawing to a close," the open space program posted on Facebook.

The birds are still visible perched in trees overlooking the river. The male and female have returned to the nest for several years.

Tennenbaum said the camera will be back next year, better than ever. A replacement camera will be posted on a pole next to the one that hosts the nest. The new camera will be high definition for crisper images of the action. It should be less susceptible to failing, as the current camera did early in the season.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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