Law School awaits return of Ospreys

An osprey with it's wings spread taking off from a tree branch

All around campus there are signs of spring. Flowers are starting to bloom, rain showers are more frequent, days are a little longer and the Ospreys return to the University of Oregon.

Well, spring is in the air – but the Ospreys aren’t – yet.

Each year, for the last five years, an Osprey couple has returned to build their nest at the UO School of Law. Their nest rests on a 52-foot-galvanized steel lamp post retrofitted to be a platform. In 2018, the School of Law installed a video camera atop the nest perch to offer a bird’s eye view in real time of the nesting Osprey.

Since then, the birds have amassed a vast following. More than 170,000 visitors have viewed the live stream on the Professor Emerita Margie Paris Osprey Cam since it was installed.

“It’s amazing to see the excitement that happens each year when the Osprey come home to nest,” said Anna Sherwood, director of communications and spokesperson for the School of Law. “Everyone in the building is on ‘bird watch’ and we’ve even had some false alarms – but we are still waiting for them to arrive.”

With the construction happening at the Historic Hayward field, there is some worry that the birds are looking for a new home. However, Osprey are very loyal to each other and their nest site. In fact, each pair mates for life and usually returns to the same nest location year after year to bare their young.

While the wait continues, the School of Law has created a Facebook group,Oregon Law Osprey Group to share information with the public and to provide a place where fellow Osprey watchers can connect.

“People are very invested in what happens with the Ospreys and this allows us to have fun and bring the community together,” said Sherwood.

In addition to the Facebook group, the camera’s live feed now offers several unique views of campus. Shots include:

  • Matthew Knight Arena
  • Hendricks Park
  • South toward Spencer’s Butte
  • South Hayward Field construction
  • North Hayward Field construction
  • West toward Skinner’s Butte
  • North toward Autzen Stadium

The School of Law assures the public that once the birds do arrive, the camera’s view can be changed in a matter of seconds to focus on the nest. Then, spring can officially begin.

By Rayna Jackson, School of Law Communications