Nesting ospreys steal the show at World Athletics Championships

Story by CBC Kids News • 2022-08-08 06:00

Fans cheered on baby osprey the same way they did athletes

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A furry, yellow bigfoot named Legend was supposed to be the mascot of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, but instead, a trio of birds stole the show.

The family of ospreys — which is a type of hawk — has been nesting on the University of Oregon’s campus the last few years.

They even have a dedicated webcam for fans to keep updated on their busy lives.

Legend the Bigfoot, seen on the left, was meant to be the mascot of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Instead, a family of birds ended up being more popular with spectators. (Image credit: Mike Segar/Reuters, Jessica Byers/Facebook)

During an international track and field competition at the school’s Hayward Field on July 22, the ospreys were in the spotlight.

While the birds weren't athletes, they got some of the biggest cheers when crowds were treated to big-screen images of one of them learning to fly.

Soaring to new heights of fame

In between events at the track competition, the camera would cut to the “osprey cam.” This was a livestream from their nearby nest, which showed the youngest trying to fly for the first time.

Upon seeing the bird flap its wings and attempt to take off, the crowd cheered it on just as they had for the runners competing on the field.

Michael Moffitt, a law professor at the University of Oregon, has become an unofficial spokesperson for the birds over the years. He said he was excited to see them take the spotlight.

“Watching the announcers and the fans cheer for the bird learning to fly in the same way that they're cheering for the athletes …  I never would have predicted that, but it's really fun,” said Moffitt.

Fishing for attention

The ospreys haven’t always been beloved by athletes who compete at Hayward Field.

They used to live closer to the sports field, but had to be moved after an incident in 2014.

This is when, according to Moffitt, “They dropped a trout onto Lane 4 during a track meet.”

Two birds sit on a construction crane against a blue sky.

By the end of the track and field competition, the baby osprey had gotten the hang of flying and was spotted in other places on the University of Oregon campus. (Image credit: @matt_hero/Twitter)

Luckily, Moffitt’s specialty is conflict resolution and he was able to solve the problem without ruffling anyone’s feathers.

The birds’ nest was moved across the street, where they now enjoy a special spot on top of a pole where their dedicated webcam lets fans keep up with their high-flying lifestyle.

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With files from Reuters
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Nathan Frandino/Reuters

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