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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Power pole nest usurpers



My friend John recently wrote from Oregon that . . .

"Our neighborhood is in a dilemma. A pair of Canada geese has taken to an Osprey nest about 50 feet above the ground on top of a high voltage power pole. There was a lot of home ownership going on when the Osprey came back to repair the nest as it does every year since we moved here.



"However the Canada geese are now the occupants.

"When the goslings hatch, their maiden flight might be disastrous. Just the other day we stopped in the middle of the street to let a pair of geese cross with about 10 babies following. Do you think the goslings will wait till they can fly or will it be a deadly first flight? What if anything should be done? I called the power company and they will not rescue the goslings.

I replied:

"The goslings will probably jump, which is what a lot of tree nesting ducks do. I would assume that they are just as tough, and will bounce.

"However, if they don't bounce, but go splat, then we have a good example of natural selection. In that case, the genes of the parents will NOT be passed on to future generatons to repeat the mistake.

"My advice is to sit tight and keep watching as the drama unfolds.

A little web surfing revealed that this has happened before. Power poles are good nesting sites, but goslings feed themselves as soon as they hatch, so they have to get down without benefit of bunji cords. Seems like that would be risky.

2 comments:

"the Dude" said...

I figured any birds nesting on power poles would get juiced early on.

I saw this Japanese video of an African owl, thought you and the owl watchers might enjoy.

funny owl behavior

Camera Trap Codger said...

Thanks a lot for the link, Dude. That is one neat owl.