The Sandpoint Osprey Cam at Memorial Field

We activated the cam for the 2014 season on March 17! Ospreys typically arrive in early April.

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The Sandpoint Osprey Cam is a collaboration of the City of Sandpoint and Sandpoint Online, with corporate support by Avista and Northland Communications. Consulting biologist is Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest. Maintenance help provided by Westside Fire District.

This project is sponsored by:

Avista Birds of Prey Northwest Northland Communications


… to the Sandpoint Osprey Cam. Located at Sandpoint’s War Memorial Field on Lake Pend Oreille, the osprey nest you see here was moved in Autumn 2011 to a nesting platform atop a new lighting standard, as part of a major renovation to the field’s lighting and grandstands.

Support the ospreys’ home

The Memorial Field renovation is a multi-year project funded through donations. Donate now! Or click to learn more at

The Memorial Field Ospreys

Memorial Field is home to two active osprey nests – as well as scores of community events each year, from soccer, baseball and football games to the annual Festival at Sandpoint summertime music series. From early spring, when the ospreys arrive in Sandpoint following their migration from Central and South America, until they head south in autumn, the ospreys are a ubiquitous presence at the field – occasionally upstaging the human events as they return to their nests carrying a squirming fish, or circle with their distinctive, whistling calls.

Osprey biology & FAQ

Lake Pend Oreille is an important nesting area for osprey, and these unique birds of prey have legions of fans among residents and visitors. They are the only raptors that eat fish exclusively, and they are consummate fishermen – putting on a thrilling show as they hover over the water, then plummet down and dive completely under to grab fish. Check out this incredible fishing video. Thanks to Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest, read more about these fascinating birds on our osprey FAQ»

The nest cam project

The opportunity to place a web cam on the Memorial Field nest arose when the city undertook replacement of the aging light poles at the field in Autumn 2011. Two of the old poles held osprey nests, and their replacement poles were built with nesting platforms above the light arrays. The new light standards soar 90 feet above the field, and placing the web cam was a project unto itself. Read about the project»

The cam project is a collaboration among many partners. It was proposed to the City of Sandpoint Parks Department by staff at Keokee, which produces Sandpoint Online, and embraced by the parks staff and the city’s utility partner, Avista. The cam, network and computer equipment, plus implementation of the streaming video, are provided by Sandpoint Online with financial and logistical support from Avista. Northland Communications is providing the high-bandwidth Internet connection through its new fiber optic network in Sandpoint. Ben Curto of Connect Technologies in Sandpoint led the equipment installation. Raptor biologist Jane Fink of Birds of Prey Northwest, a raptor conservation and rescue group based in St. Maries, is consulting as biologist for the project. Bob Anderson, Raptor Resource Project, provided initial advice. Many others contributed, including Ron’s Electric staff; Thorco Electric; local birder Rich DelCarlo; architect Sean Fitzpatrick and CTA Architects .

Sandpoint Osprey Nest Observations

  • charlie
    (Tue, Apr 22. 2014 06:44 PM PDT)
    For all/current temp is 45, a few sprinkles so far, and geese enjoying the green grass on the field…grazing. No one in the north nest yet..still hoping.
  • oldollady
    (Tue, Apr 22. 2014 06:44 PM PDT)
    thank you charlie!! i have grown to hate that one stick that is nailed to the nest form. she is falling all over it trying to do nestorations
  • charlie
    (Tue, Apr 22. 2014 06:51 PM PDT)
    for oldollady/you are most welcome. I have been gone most of the day, will try to be most observant tomorrow…however, I think that unless we have a huge wind, that stick is staying.
  • von
    (Tue, Apr 22. 2014 11:20 PM PDT)
    yikes! it’s cold there for Sandy and Pete…weatherman says 34-36 and rain and maybe snow for a bit. no doubt they’re shiverin’!
  • Sue G
    (Wed, Apr 23. 2014 01:27 AM PDT)
    I won’t be around for a bit, am having hand surgery later today so won’t be able to use the computer. Bad timing! I hope I don’t miss too much, but no doubt can catch up later.

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April 12

First osprey of the year at the nest was spotted yesterday, April 11; we grabbed this screenshot at 6:51 p.m.Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 6.51.11 PM The fish hawks seem to be running about a week behind their arrival time of the past two years, but we’re sure happy to see them.

As of this morning, this guy or gal has been hanging at the nest very consistently. Now, the osprey have to get busy to rebuild the nest. The nest’s bare bones have made it unusable to the geese that last year commandeered the nest and kept the ospreys out all season.

But, geese are fun to watch too – and in fact, on our second nest cam at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, a pair of geese have taken over an eagle’s nest and are incubating at least three eggs. You can check that nest cam by the Eagle Cam graphic and link in the left column at top – or click now  to:

Although, this year it appears it will be a “geegle” nest, as the geese are likely now to keep the eagles out of their nest for the season.


March 24

Nest_Geese_2014-03-24Not that we wish any ill on the geese that want to colonize our osprey nest, but after last season when two broods of geese kept the osprey out of the nest for the whole season we have to admit we’re happy the nest won’t be useable to them this time. This pair hung at the nest for much of the morning, without satisfaction! Geese are nest squatters, not nest builders, so they won’t be able to utilize it this season. That said, there’s still plenty of suspense as to whether the ospreys will adopt the nest again this year and rebuild it. They should be arriving again in the next week to two weeks … so stay tuned!

March 17

Sandpoint osprey nest screen shotToday we brought the osprey cam back online for the 2014 season – and, notwithstanding that it is St. Patrick’s Day, this year we’re hoping for something more than the luck of the Irish! Last year the nest was taken over by not one, but two different nesting goose pairs (scroll down to see last year’s blog posts about that, including some neat video clips of goslings jumping from the 100-foot-tall nest). The geese kept ospreys out of the nest for the season. But geese are nest squatters, not nest builders. This year they’ll find the nest needs too much reconstruction to be useable. The question now, of course, is whether the ospreys will recolonize and rebuild the nest. Our biologists say they should … but Nature is notoriously fickle, so we will have to wait and see what she has in store this year!

July 30

festival at sandpointIt’s been a disappointing season for osprey watchers at the cam – read the previous blogs below to see why – but with the nest empty we’re now pointing the cam at the Festival at Sandpoint for the next two weeks. The Festival has eight concerts coming up between August 1 and August 11, and our webcam eye in the sky will give everyone a peek at the field and happenings live, as they occur. If you’ve never caught a concert outside on the lawns beside beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, it’s a great experience. Go see the lineup, and get tickets, at

June 28

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 9.18.17 AM

It’s been a disappointing season for osprey fans; after two broods of geese overtook the nest from April through May, the osprey who built and normally use the nest had to make other plans. This past month since the geese left (see post below) the nest has been mainly empty. But an occasional osprey does stop by to investigate; above is a screenshot we grabbed of an osprey checking the nest this morning a little after 9 a.m.

May 29

Yesterday the second goose pair to colonize the nest this season hatched out six goslings, and this morning at about 11:13 a.m. the goslings made their jump from the nest – about 100 feet down to Memorial Field. Here’s a 5-minute video capture of the event – after the mom and dad goose fly down from the nest, the goslings dither a bit then jump shortly after the 4-minute mark.

GoslingsOnLake-ErinBusbyObservers on the field watched all six goslings land, bounce and survive the long drop. The parents herded them off the field and successfully onto the lake (this photo by cam watcher Erin Busby; click it to enlarge).

Now we get to ask, again: What happens next at the osprey nest? Ospreys have been observed around the field, and across the field on the other nesting platform an osprey pair is well into incubation. Will ospreys will finally reclaim this nest at this point in the season, to lay and rear a brood? It remains to be seen.

A good resource for those following this webcam is the Sandpoint Osprey Nest Group on Facebook (maintained independently of Sandpoint Online). Click to check it and ask to join»

April 24

YouTube: Sandpoint goslings jump from nestThis morning just after 7 a.m. the four gosling jumped down from the nest. Multiple watchers recorded the event from the cam feed; check this outstanding 2-minute YouTube clip of the goslings making the jump. Observers on the ground say all four survived the 100-foot drop, and once on the field made their way to the lake — where observers say the family was attacked by another goose and one of the goslings was killed.

After all that action, what else could happen at our osprey nest? Well this: A new pair of geese arrived at the nest and the female laid an egg within a few minutes. Now the questions are, will the ospreys contest for the nest? If they don’t, will ospreys use the nest after this second brood of geese depart?

April 23

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 2.57.46 PMThe geese that laid their first egg on March 19 saw their entire clutch of four eggs hatch yesterday, April 22. As of today the four goslings appear to be thriving, and both mom and dad geese have spent much of the day in the nest. The next daunting feat, likely to occur in the next day or two, will be for the goslings to jump down from the 100-foot-high nest. Park personnel have witnessed the goslings making this jump from the nest in past years – but from when the nest was on the old light poles at much lower heights. At this time, the questions are: How will these goslings fare in their long jump from the nest? And, with the nest again open, will the ospreys return to reclaim it?

April 2

In response to comments about geese activities at the nest, biologist Jane Fink writes:

We see this all the time on the CDA Lake basin. The goose occupies a nesting platform, hatches her brood and is often gone by the time the osprey need to move in. Nesting spots are at a premium for many bird species. Cool temperatures are no problem for adult birds. Feathers are fully insulating. Both species have been evolving together for a very long time!

We are beginning to observe our first returning ospreys to north Idaho in the last few days. Already several have made the long journey from the south to return to their nesting areas. Keep your eyes skyward!

March 20

Yesterday a goose arrived at the nest, laid an egg and appeared to begin incubating it (see photo in yesterday’s blog). Though the goose was not at the nest as of this morning, she or others are sure to be back, according to City Parks Director Kim Woodruff, whose crews maintain Memorial Field and have observed interactions at the nest for many years. Woodruff gives this account:

This battle happens every year.  According to my guys this is what happens every year:

Goose takes nest and lays eggs. Eggs hatch pretty quickly and little guys grow fast. Mom tosses little guys out of nest (literally) and they bounce 5 feet but survive. When last guy is hucked from nest Mom and Dad gather together and my guys open a gate on the field so that they can head for the river.  After goose vacate, the osprey will occupy.  Sounds like a possible two-fer on eggs … let’s see!

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