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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Boulder County Fairgrounds ospreys welcome first successful hatch since 2020

The Boulder County Fairgrounds osprey camera captured the hatching of one of three eggs on Thursday morning, the first successful hatch from the resident ospreys since 2020.

Boulder County Parks and Open Space officials confirmed that the first chick had hatched around 7 a.m. after 39.78 days of incubation. This mother osprey has typically seen hatches between 37.5 days and 39 days.

“We’re trying to keep it positive, and we’re looking forward to the other eggs hatching and watching these eggs grow,” said Jasmine Finks, a moderator for the osprey camera website.

Finks expects that the second egg will hatch within the next 24 hours if all goes well.

Viewers watched the egg hatch together between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The video shows the chick pipping through the eggshell in the night and the mother tending to it in the morning.

Finks said that almost 200 comments built up on the osprey camera website in that time.

“I felt the excitement through the page. We felt all of this with this whole community we’ve built around the ospreys,” Finks said.

The news of the new family member is hard-won after the female osprey’s chicks died in 2020 and failed to hatch in 2021 and 2022. The resident female osprey has been coming to the nest since 2013 but previously had no luck in hatching a clutch with the new male who arrived two years ago.

“This is the golden baby after three years of famine,” Finks said.

Finks says that from what she and other officials at Boulder County Parks and Open Space can tell, the chick is healthy. Though the percentage of chicks that survive their first year into their juvenile stage is about 50%, the fact that the chick has started eating fish and is bobbing its head when the mother gets up from the nest is a good sign.

The female osprey’s experience with raising clutches may also help the chicks make it to adulthood and to their first offseason migration to South America.

The successful hatch is a relief to the osprey camera-watching community after a hailstorm pummeled the female osprey two weeks ago. She protected the eggs with her body from damage while viewers swarmed the website to watch.

If all goes well, all three eggs will hatch for the experienced mother and new father.

“I felt so much joy and elation and promise that they did such a good job this time protecting the eggs from hail,” Finks said of the osprey parents. “It’s very touching. I kind of feel like a mom myself. We all wanted this to happen.”

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