Nesting ospreys delight crowds at world championships

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When Noah Lyles led a stunning American sweep in the 200 meters on Thursday, he had some unusual cheerleaders watching the start line: A nest of ospreys who have become the unofficial mascots of the World Championships.

There’s no starting gunfire or roar from the crowd as the raptors burst from their home on a platform above the University of Oregon Law School, visible to the crowd at the 10-day international meet in Eugene, Oregon. Between the field events and the sprint heats, fans are delighted to see the youngest of the nest flapping their wings, thanks to the images broadcast on the big screen at Hayward Field.

“Watching announcers and fans cheering on the bird, learning to fly the same way they cheer on athletes, running, jumping and throwing – yeah, I never would have predicted that, but it’s really fun,” said Michael Moffitt, Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon. Ospreys previously resided at historic Hayward Field until an incident in 2014 prompted them to relocate to the Knight Law Center platform.

“They dropped a trout on lane four at an athletic meet,” Moffitt, the de facto spokesman for the birds, told Reuters. “My professional expertise is in conflict resolution. And the way we resolved this one was just to move the birds across the street.”

Hayward underwent extensive renovations beginning in 2018, with the project competing in 2020, ahead of its hosting duties for the US Olympic Trials. While Eugene lacks the metropolitan energy and conveniences of former hosts like Doha, London and Beijing, the quiet college town nestled on the Willamette River presents a great opportunity for fans to enjoy the natural beauty – ospreys in are a great example.

“We saw the baby bird practice getting ready to fly. So that was really exciting,” said Shannon Dixon, 49, a computer scientist from Oxnard, Calif. “I could just enjoy nature happening.”

Ospreys have quickly become fan favourites, vying for affection with the championships fuzzy yellow official mascot, Legend the Bigfoot. “I prefer the bird (over the legend) because it’s natural and I loved it,” said Sigfried Cesar, 57, who lives in Houston, Texas. “I absolutely loved that it happened.”

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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