An Offseason for the Birds in Missoula

The Pioneer League season doesn’t start for another two months, but nonetheless there is plenty of gamesmanship currently taking place at the Missoula Osprey’s home of Ogren Park Allegiance field.

One of the most unique aspects of the Missoula stadium experience is that there is an actual osprey nest located just beyond the center field fence. The Osprey believe that the osprey who live in this nest  are “the only pro sports team mascot living in its natural habitat at the home team’s venue.”

I can’t argue with that? Can you?

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But these days in Missoula the status is far from quo, as geese have claimed the osprey nest! This unexpected avian invasion prompted the Osprey (the team, not the birds) to issue a press release last week that explains the situation. Let the short declarative sentences begin!

The geese have been spotted in the nest for the past two weeks.  It appears the geese are nesting.  It is expected that the geese will leave the nest once the nesting season is done which could be as soon as two weeks from now.  The osprey have arrived from their migration from the south and are looking to reclaim the popular nest site.  However, the geese are in the way.  It is hoped that the osprey will return to the nest once the geese leave later this month.  The nest location has been very popular to the osprey as they have returned to the nest every year since the platform was installed. 

Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian describes the osprey who normally inhabit the nest as “amorous,” “upset” and “homeless.” The osprey have repeatedly tried and failed to build nests in alternate locations, and desperately want to get back to their usual spot. But the geese — the headstrong “Clara” and her little-seen mate — refuse to cede their position as they have eggs to tend to.

"Clara"

“Clara” (photo: Michael Gallacher/The Missoulian)

Briggeman’s article — well worth the read! — includes the following quote from Rob Domenech of Missoula’s Raptor View Research Institute.

“We see this annually where the geese set up shop before the osprey come back. It’s my thought, and these are observations we’ve made in the past, that just when you think the osprey is going to run out of time, the (goose) eggs hatch, the geese bail, and (the osprey) can slide in there and do what they need to do.”

Let’s hope that this is the case! Opening Day at Ogren Park Allegiance Field is June 20, and “Missoula Geese” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

4 Comments

I enjoyed the article Ben. George Bethell

That’s too bad, the osprey’s nest just over the fence is a pretty cool addition to the park. The locals gather for a great free seat at the bottom of the nests pole and BBQ, drink beer and it’s Missoula so the smell of ganja is never far away! It’s a great park with wonderful surroundings and fun atmosphere for Pioneer League Baseball! I Can’t wait !

The “anchor”-“savior” of osprey pitching last year who was a huge part in many people’s eyes in getting them to the championship game was shafted during spring training this year. He was placed in extended spring training with no “feedback” with his performance, just a “we like you”. The C.T. man can be productive, more productive then the pitchers I have been watching. I am not real sure how this system works, but I certainly have lost respect for what is happening within this game (big prospects suspended for doping, etc.., but this kid with a heart, mind, and a hard throwing right arm, who loves the game and has morals, values, and ethics, is now devastated in how this system works. Why he did not move up to full season, It’s Unbelievable who ever makes these decisions! So now he has “voluntarily retired” from the D-Backs and left to pursue other opportunities and wait things out (2018). My understanding they will not release him until his contract is up in 2018, and if he wishes to return he has to call the D-Backs. Let him out of his contract and allow him to pursue the team that will recognize this kids heart, mind, and a hard throwing right arm that will only get better when given the opportunity to excel in the game he loves. Yes, this kid is my 2nd son, and I am totally disappointed to watch what happens to these young men in one of the greatest games that has begun to sour…

I like Missoula Osprey, no Missoula Geese just is not right…

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