Osprey Banded at Bolsa Chica
By Thomas Anderson

Osprey banding
Osprey banding
Osprey banding
Osprey banding
Osprey banding
Photos by Kim DiPasquale
For the first time since the Osprey began nesting at the BCER, two young birds, a male and female (now known as N1 and N2) were banded by zoologist and raptor expert, Peter Bloom, PhD, on April 29, 2021. Thanks to the efforts of the City of Huntington Beach, California Resources Corporation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bloom rode a boom 50 feet to the nesting platform to briefly capture the two chicks who were about seven weeks old.

The birds were carefully placed in backpacks to alleviate some of the stress of being removed from their nest. The female parent was extremely displeased by this activity and repeatedly dive-bombed Bloom. He was then lowered to the ground to apply the durable plastic bandings to each fledgling. Osprey talons are not only sharp, they are many times more powerful than the grip of a human hand and must be dealt with carefully. The bands will allow the birds’ whereabouts to be tracked if and when they move away from the area. After the procedure, which lasted about 20 minutes, he placed each bird back in its pack, rode the boom back up to return the birds safely to their nest. At almost the same moment, the male parent returned to the nest with a large halibut.

The mother of the birds had been banded by Bloom several years ago at Upper Newport Bay. The father had not been banded. Locally banded Osprey have been found as far north as Mono Lake and as far south as Guanajuato, Mexico. At this writing, the juveniles successfully fledged but have not left the area, likely a testament to the biodiversity at Bolsa Chica and its ability to support an abundance of life.