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Researchers band osprey chicks in Missoula

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Osprey researchers are closing to wrapping up their "banding" of new chicks for the summer. (MTN News photo) Osprey researchers are closing to wrapping up their "banding" of new chicks for the summer. (MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

Osprey researchers are closing to wrapping up their "banding" of new chicks for the summer and that's a good thing because the hot weather is making the job a little trickier.

The research team from the University of Montana and the Raptor View Research Institute were banding two chicks taken from their Tower Street nest on Friday.

This has become an annual affair, a chance for people in the community to see the birds and learn more about them. For the handlers, it's a case of moving fast in these hotter conditions, and not stressing the birds, even when they're feisty.

"I always like to hold the business end, of course the feet, and just being relaxed with them. You don't want to strain the bird. So you've got to hold them gently, firmly. That's what we do and we've done this, after this season, 4-hundred times," said Raptor Research Institute Executive Director Rob Domenech.

 "The nestlings are kind of easy. When you're holding a big golden eagle, or an adult half eagle or even an adult osprey they'll give you a run for your money," Domenech said. "I like it when they're feisty because they're going to be feisty to make it in this world. That's the way I look at it."

Chicks haven't survived in some of the nests this year, and researchers say it may be because the osprey had trouble fishing when rivers were high earlier this summer.

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