"‘Emmett’ (M8) the Osprey from Montana Discovered in Rockport!" | Text & Photos by Sally Mitchell

A Map Showing the Distance
From Missoula, MT to Rockport
"I was photographing an egret when I heard a familiar bird call nearby; I looked around and spotted an osprey perched on a pole. When I zoomed in on the osprey I noticed he was wearing a royal blue leg band with the code M8 on his left leg. That was a very exciting sight; having watched an online osprey nest cam in Missoula, Montana, I recognized the band as the type used by the Montana Osprey Project.

I dashed home and sent an email with photos of M8 to Dr. Erick Greene at the University of Montana. He soon replied, “Wow – this is incredibly exciting!” He told me that M8 was one of three chicks hatched this summer in the nest on a platform at the baseball field of the Missoula Ospreys baseball team. He was banded on July 17th. Dr. Greene said M8 was looking really healthy and his feathers appeared to be in great shape.

Dr. Greene allowed me to choose a name for M8. I settled on Emmett, which sounds like M8.

Since that first sighting in late September, several other Rockport area birders & photographers have spotted Emmett. Emmett may decide to stick around Rockport for a year or more, or he may move on further south; many ospreys winter in Mexico or even Central America.

Click play to hear the call of an Osprey:

This brief video of a TV news segment shows Emmett and his siblings being banded, and explains the purposes of the Missoula Osprey Project:

And this article tells the story of Emmett’s nesting site, including the story of the goose takeover of the nest last year:

Photo of "Emmett" being banded by Dr. Erick Greene in Montana
as part of the Missoula Osprey Project

Image courtesy of Dr. Erick Greene


  1. Helen Fahlsing10/08/2014

    Smart fella -- going to Rockport for the winter!

    1. Anonymous10/09/2014

      We spotted him over the weekend on our canal in Harbor Oaks.

  2. James R Fox10/08/2014

    I saw M8 Monday morning........

  3. Pat Lahtinen10/08/2014

    Awesome inf.- complete with sound, pics!

  4. Charlene Swankie Wheels10/08/2014

    One flew down and caught a fish right in front of me while I was kayaking last week. Could not get the camera out fast enough to get the photo.

  5. Jane Willard10/09/2014

    Congratulations, Sally, on capturing these great photos, making the effort to contact Dr. Greene with the Missoula Osprey Project, and receiving the honor of naming "Emmett" ... surely the perfect name for M8 and one which Dr. Greene and team members had to really appreciate. I believe I may have seen and photographed him and another osprey out in the grassy area, as well. Both were beautiful birds.

  6. Emmett is like me in that he wants to live in Rockport! Someday...it will happen!

  7. MelodyR10/09/2014

    What a fantastic story! Thank you, Sally, for sharing your experience. You're making us all aware of the Missoula project. Awesome.

  8. Absolutely gorgeous pictures, and a great story! Thank you for sharing this Sally!

  9. Mary S.10/09/2014

    Amazing story!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience Sally. Keep us updated! :-)

  10. Anonymous10/10/2014

    Absolutely beautiful creature..

  11. Anonymous10/14/2014

    was lucky enough to photograph him on Friday 10/10 ..Cheryl schultz

  12. Lana Brown10/16/2014

    We have 3 ospreys that fish the waters behind our house on Copano. They are such beautiful birds!

  13. Abigail Hutchinson10/16/2014

    Great photo! So amazing he got so far in a matter of months! I hope I get to see him!

  14. Anonymous5/07/2015

    I watched an osprey land on the rail of the water tower, near 35 and Broadway. It was high enough that I wasn't certain until he re-settled, and I could see his wings extended from below. Magnificent bird.


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