Rapunzels Epic Journey 2014Last October, birders near Surfside, Texas realized the Osprey they were watching sported a colored leg band and a satellite transmitter. Through a network of Osprey researchers, they eventually got in touch with RVRI, and shared their observation. Their pictures gave us our first look at Osprey 54 (named Rapunzel by a few young RVRI volunteers) since she fledged from her nest on the MPG Ranch in 2012. We were thrilled to see her looking so healthy in her adult plum- age, and we were told she was very adept at catching fish.

Rapunzel spent a year and a half on her wintering ground along the Gulf Coast. Then, on May 11, 2013, she began her first spring migration journey north. This late of a departure meant she would be unable to breed in 2014, but we were eager to see where she would go. In just nine days she was back in the Bitterroot Valley, just a few miles from the nest where she was born two years earlier. She continued north to Flathead Lake, where she rested for a day before traveling to a spot just north of the Montana-Canada border, near Coutts, Alberta. Five days later, just as Rapunzel seemed to be settling down, she embarked on a 13 day, nearly 2,000 mile loop through Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Eastern Washington. Rapunzel made four looping journeys May 28 – July 16, returning to Alberta each time. On July 20, a couple from Lethbridge, Alberta camping near the Milk River snapped photos of Rapunzel. We were ecstatic to see she still looked terrific despite traveling thousands of miles in a matter of just weeks, and the couple was excited to learn Rapunzel’s lengthening history.

Rapunzel Flying Over Aransas Bay, TexasOn July 27, Rapunzel traveled approximately 40 miles southwest to a spot just east of Glacier National Park, near Cut Bank, Montana. Here she spent the rest of her summer, returning to her wintering grounds along the Gulf Coast of Texas in early September. So far, Rapunzel’s exciting story has been featured in the Montana Naturalist, The University of Mon- tana’s Vision Magazine, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s blog, and a children’s book by Dorothy Patent. We think seeing Rapunzel raise a brood of chicks next summer would be a great development in her story!