Angry birds: Osprey, geese duke it out in Boise Greenbelt prize fight

Idaho StatesmanApril 2, 2014 

Two geese protect the disputed nest from an osprey Saturday near the Greenbelt in Eagle.


In this corner Branta canadensis, aka Canada goose. Weighing up to 20 pounds with a wingspan up to 70 inches. Though it lacks talons, its wings can deliver a powerful blow and its bill a painful bite. A number of these migratory birds have taken up permanent residence in Boise and other places with plentiful grassy areas, parks and waterways. They can nest up high or down low.

And in this corner Pandion haliaetus, aka osprey. Weighing up to four pounds, also with a 70-inch wingspan. What an osprey lacks in heft and muscle, it makes up for with speed, sharp talons and a piercing beak. Osprey live near water and feed on fish.

The stakes? A coveted high-rise nest occupied by an osprey family the past three years. This year, a pair of Canada geese started squatting there.

Battle for air superiority A full-on assault is underway for control of the nest. "All the bird community was up in arms," said Judy Jepson, an Eagle resident who lives near the nest and has captured the tussles on camera.

The victor? For the past three days, the geese have ruled the roost.

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