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?
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.
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.