As campers, visitors and the two Osprey parents looked on, Three Rivers Park District Interpretive Naturalist Judy Voigt Englund banded two young male Osprey chicks at Anoka County’s Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes July 10.
Englund and Three Rivers Park District volunteer Michelle Cook placed two metal bands on each bird.
The black and green alpha-numeric bands have a large letter and number that can be seen with a spotting scope.
The silver band has a number that is recorded at the Bird Banding Lab in Washington, D.C.
Englund said if a dead Osprey is found the age can be determined by contacting the Bird Banding Lab.
The two chicks are around five weeks old and Englund estimates they will fledge in three weeks.
The mother Osprey has been at Wargo Nature Center for two years, but was born at Carver Park Reserve and is five years old. The age and origin of the father Osprey is unknown.
During the banding, the mother and father Osprey showed their dislike for the nest interruption.
The father Osprey flew around with a fish in his mouth, waiting to return to the nest and feed the chicks.
“It stresses out the parents a little bit, but the cool thing is we’re the predators and when we leave they’ve won the fight,” Englund said.
Before the banding, Englund taught Wargo Nature Center kayak campers about the Osprey, including their size, what they eat and how their third toe that can flip around to hold onto a fish.
Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department Natural Resource Technician Glenn Fuchs then retrieved the two chicks from the nest.
Campers assisted with the banding tools and named the two birds King and Prince. Camper Jack Bialke came up with the name King because of the birds’ spiked feathers that resembled a crown.
“I had no idea we were going to do this, but I love birds,” Bialke said.
Aside from the bird banding, campers spent most of the week kayaking.
Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department Marketing Manager Jennifer Fink said the bird banding frequently occurs on the same week as Wargo Nature Center’s Kayak Camp.
“It’s an extra type of instructional aspect with the kids. We try and instill in them an appreciation,” Fink said.
The bird banding was done in support of the local Twin Cities Osprey Project, which was founded in 1984.
Bird banding is truly a collaborative effort between local counties and park districts, according to Englund.
She has worked with the Osprey for 29 years and frequently works with the Mississippi West Regional Park when banding birds.
While the Osprey population in this area isn’t large, there has been a resurgence since Anoka County became part of the Osprey Project 10 years ago, according to Fink.
Englund said the Osprey usually reside in the northern parts of South America during the winter and return to live in this area from April to October.
Fuchs has been retrieving birds for bird banding twice a year with the Anoka County Parks and Recreation Department for around 10 years.
He said he’s never been attacked by the mother and father birds and looks forward to this part of his job every year.
“I had a youngster when I was putting it back into the nest one year take its beak and grab a hold of my arm…just saying it didn’t really care for what was going on,” Fuchs said with a laugh.
Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]