Raptor Center may have a solution to bully geese

Osprey tries unsuccessfully to unseat goose from her nest. (TRC)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – It’s been a battle of wills between the Teton Raptor Center, osprey, and a few bird-brained geese that just won’t take a hint.

Over the past five years, the Raptor Center has watched as osprey nests designed for osprey have been usurped by Canada geese, who tend to return to the valley a bit earlier than osprey. By the time osprey return, they find their nests all spoken for by a bird that normally does not choose elevation for its seasonal home, but for some reason has found osprey nests much to their liking.

Last year, one particular display of aerial warfare between osprey and goose was well documented by the center and other concerned bird watchers. Try as she might, the osprey pictured here in this story could not drive off the bigger goose who was apparently claiming “shotgun” on the nest along Highway 22.

This year’s plan by the Raptor Center is to develop what they are calling the “Goose Excluder” to ensure nesting platforms meant for osprey are available to osprey when they return—which should be in the next few days or weeks.

Using a pulley system, TRC will tilt several modified platforms in the late winter and early spring. When they see the first ospreys return to the valley, they will release the pulley so that the platform lies flat again, ready for pairs to begin rebuilding nests.

The “Goose Excluder” in action. (TRC)