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Brief Encounters

Tracking a Mystery Osprey

by Laura Erickson
Photograph by Antonio Nunez-Lemos

Osprey 5E, nicknamed "Aguila Viajera"

On October 31, 2010, Alexander Dzib, Mercedes Perez Mena, Amparo Altarriba, and Antonio Nunez-Lemos went to Celestún Biosphere Reserve in the Yucatan peninsula to photograph birds. They were puzzled by an Osprey with green iridescent feathers on the wing and fluorescent orange paint under the wing. Their photographs revealed a leg band with the code 5E. They sent photos to the Cornell Lab. Eduardo Iñigo-Elias wrote to Osprey expert Rob Bierregaard, Jr., who tracked down Idaho researcher Wayne Melquist. Melquist wrote, “Osprey 5E (orange band on left leg) was removed from a nest here in Idaho on 20 July 2010 and translocated to South Dakota for release as part of the restoration project we have been working on with the South Dakota Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. Thanks Rob for making the connection. That made my day!”

If you see a banded or color-marked bird, the first place to check is the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory at www.reportband.gov.

—Laura Erickson