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Osprey dive-bombs geese who hijacked nest near Oyama

Drone footage captured near Crystal Waters shows a goose nesting higher than usual…
A Canada goose can be seen via drone footage nesting in an elevated osprey nest near Crystal Waters south of Vernon April 11, 2021. (Alister James McLellan photo)

A nest sitting on top of a man-made perch south of Vernon has an unusual occupant.

Drone footage of a Canada goose nesting high above Highway 97 with a dazzling view of Kalamalka Lake was captured and shared to Facebook by Alister James McLellan, who said he was driving to Vernon recently when he noticed the huge nest on a pole across from Crystal Waters Road.

“I was certain I’d spotted an eagle’s nest!” his post reads.

McLellan took the drone out for a close-up viewing on April 12 and discovered the nest was indeed occupied, not with an eagle but with “a lone happy goose.”

The consensus from local residents is that the nest belongs to ospreys, which are seasonal to the area.

And a few days later an osprey came back to claim its nest and found not one, but now two geese had hijacked it.

The osprey was seen dive-bombing the geese, which Lake Country resident Judy Marsh caught on camera.

The geese are still there, but they may be evicted soon.

“If it’s anything like last year the osprey will be successful in getting their nest back,” Marsh said.

Canada geese tend to nest in the same area each year, and they usually nest at the ground level in expansive grasslands, or preferably on a small island, according to a 2016 UBC study. But the study in urban Vancouver also found geese are learning to nest on rooftops and other man-made perches to avoid predators.

The video garnered a number of responses, some from people who have seen this nest-squatting behaviour before.

“This is the second year she has stolen the osprey’s nest,” Bonnie Ayriss said in response to McLellan’s video. “Can’t imagine how she got (her babies) across 97 to the lake.”

Others wondered how the baby geese, once they’ve hatched, will be able to leave the nest; goslings aren’t able to fly until they are about three months old.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre says this can occasionally be a problem because geese don’t always plan ahead for their younglings’ departure when building or taking up a nest. But generally, newly hatched goslings can fall about two storeys without hurting themselves, “because they are so small and fluffy.”

Presumably, the goose and her babies will be kicked out of the nest when the ospreys return.

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Brendan Shykora
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A pair of geese get dive-bombed by an osprey after they hijacked the nest off Highway 97 near Kalamalka Lake April 16, 2021. (Judy Marsh photo)

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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