I really enjoyed working on The Call of the Osprey, which involved ongoing osprey research by scientists at the University of Montana right around my hometown, Missoula. I was able to participate in their field work and also visit the laboratories where they analyzed the blood samples they got from osprey chicks along the local rivers. Ospreys are amazing birds, specialized for catching fish by diving down into the water and grabbing the fish in their sharp talons, then carrying it away for a meal. Readers can get a feel for how field research is carried out and can learn about the lives of osprey families. Two of the nests are equipped with videocams (Hellgate Canyon is easiest to access) so viewers can learn the details of the birds’ lives. You can learn more about how the ospreys are faring this year on this FaceBook page.
April 12, 2020 Great news–The Hellgate Canyon female for many years, Iris, has returned to her nest and already caught a big, strong trout for herself. You can see a video of her with the fish on the FaceBook page. This “old girl” is thought to be 25 years old, which is pretty old for an osprey, but she’s clearly as strong and able as ever. This year could be an exciting one for the Hellgate Canyon nest!
One thing that really impressed me about these great birds is the gentle care with which the parents tend their chicks. Since the book was written, things have changed for the ospreys involved. The Dunroven Ranch female, Harriet, has a new mate, Hal. Iris, the female at the Hellgate nest, has a new mate named Louis. Learn more about Louis Adams, the revered elder for the Salish people, and how an osprey was given his name, on my update for 2016.
The Call of the Osprey was chosen as a 2016 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12. You can access a Discussion and Activity Guide for the book at CallOsprey.