What to do for a lonely osprey?

Q: We keep our sailboat in the Alamitos Bay Marina and recently have been seeing an osprey perching on another sailboat mast across from ours. This same bird was there last year and there was another osprey flying around with him. This year he is the only one there and he just cries and cries and gets no answer. My husband is very worried about him. Is there anyone we can talk to about this?A: You can assure your husband that there's no reason to worry about this lone osprey you're seeing. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Seabird Biologist Laird Henkel, although osprey are typically monogamous, after their breeding season (probably in the Pacific Northwest for these birds) concludes each year, the two members of a pair will separate and migrate to different wintering sites. Since they don't nest in Suthern California, any osprey you may see during the winter in your region are likely migrating or just wintering there locally. Because of this, the two birds you saw last year were almost certainly not a mated pair. It's also unlikely they were a parent / juvenile pair as juveniles also migrate separately from their parents. The second bird you saw last year may be around again this winter but just in a different part of the bay, or it may have been a bird that has died since last year. Osprey can live for more than 20 years and will typically return to the same wintering site year after year, so you may end up seeing this same individual on your neighbor's mast for years to come. Osprey will call for a variety of reasons, but most typically if they are annoyed or they are announcing their territory (including a winter feeding territory) to other birds. It's hard to say what the "crying" you hear might mean, but I'll bet the bird is not calling for its missing "friend." Q: What baits that I catch myself can I then use when fishing and crabbing off of a public pier? A: Any finfish or invertebrate that is legal to take or possess in California may be used as bait while crabbing or fishing. They must be caught in a legal manner -- for example, you may not use a rockfish caught accidentally in your crab trap as bait, because rockfish may only be caught using hook-and-line fishing gear. And if you decide to use something with a size limit, it must meet the legal size limit and that finfish or invertebrate must be added to your bag for the day. Q: My grandson is 13 years old and interested in hunting. His dad is cool to the idea but doesn't oppose it. The weekend of Oct. 2-3, I got him his hunter's training certificate through the California Waterfowl Association (who by the way are really doing a lot to get kids interested in hunting and shooting). I wanted to get him his license right away so that I could enter him in a youth drawing to hunt the Tejon Ranch. The deadline was near and so I had a mental lapse and got him a regular adult license instead of a junior license. Afterwards I realized I had made a mistake and so had my son go get him a junior license. Yes, now he has two hunting licenses, a junior license and an adult license, and that's the problem. My son is concerned that there is some illegality in having two hunting licenses. I don't think there would be a problem unless my grandson attempted to use the two licenses in some way. If it is illegal for him to have both a junior hunting license and an adult hunting license, can I just cure the problem by running the adult license through the paper shredder? I don't care about reimbursement and will just consider it a donation. Thanks for your assistance. A: Hunters may only possess one license, and hunters 15 years and younger may only possess a junior hunting license. It is illegal for your grandson to possess an adult license until he turns 16 years old. The best solution for this situation is for you to return the adult hunting license, along with a copy of the junior license and a note explaining what happened, to the DFG License and Revenue Branch, 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95834. This will allow for the adult license issued under his name to be removed from the database and you will be reimbursed for the cost of the adult license purchased in error. Happy hunting with your grandson! Q: During waterfowl season, I would like to hold onto as many birds as I can so that I can mount those birds that are in the best shape. But at what point does a duck go from being a duck in my possession to a carcass for mounting? Does a skinned-out bird count as one duck toward that season's bag limit? Do birds in the freezer from last year count toward this season's bag limit? Do mounted birds count toward my possession limit? I would like to know what the regulations are and abide by them. A: According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Assistant Chief Mike Carion, generally, Fish and Game laws and regulations prohibit a person from having more than the bag or possession limit prescribed for each species. You may not keep game for longer than 10 days following the season, unless you have a valid hunting license (or a copy) for that species that was issued to you or to the person who donated the birds to you. The license must have been issued for the current or immediate past license year. Possession limits apply to each person in the household whether they were the taker of the game or not. As long as you do not possess more than the legal possession limit for each person living at the residence, you will still be in compliance with the laws. If you plan on mounting birds for another person, you will be required to obtain a Federal Taxidermy Permit and will be required to tag all birds belonging to someone else (specific requirements can be found in CFR Title 50, section 20.36). In addition, you must keep accurate records of who you obtained the birds from, date taken, species and who you deliver the bird to. As far as at what point a duck is no longer a duck and instead a carcass for mounting, under DFG laws, "bird" means any wild bird or part thereof. A feather, bone, webfoot, etc. from a wild duck is always a bird. Once you remove, consume or otherwise use the edible portions of the bird, the bird would no longer count toward your possession limit for the season. As long as you have the edible portions of the bird, it would still count toward your possession limit. Once you skin out a duck and remove all of the edible portions, the edible portion remains part of your possession limit while the remainder of the carcass can be kept for taxidermy without counting toward your possession limit. Keep in mind that birds still in the freezer from last year DO count toward this season's possession limit, but mounted birds that were legally taken and preserved by taxidermy are not counted in either the bag or possession limits. For more information, please see Fish and Game Code, sections 22, 2001 and 3080, available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/. Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone's questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

********** Published: November 25, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 32