Greetings from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the home of Tom and Audrey, our resident osprey. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely also viewing our osprey nest on the Chesapeake Conservancy website. There is a lot that goes on around the nest that is not visible from the camera. We have decided to try and give the camera viewers some insight as to what is going on around the nest that is not visible to you.
As background, our first osprey pole was erected on March 21, 1995. We know this exact date because since the pole was erected, Crazy Osprey Man (fondly named by his wife) has been keeping detailed notes about our resident osprey. The same day the pole originally went in, an osprey was observed on the platform. Two days later, nest building commenced by the original Tom and Audrey pair. This pair raised chicks every year until 2009 (1-3 chicks yearly), when the original Tom and Audrey did not return. You might ask how we knew these were the same osprey pair, but they each had very distinctive markings, and were easy to identify. As the typical life span of an osprey is approximately 15 years, we were very sad they did not return, but knew it was inevitable. The first camera was installed in 2002. There will be more to follow about that great endeavor over the next few blogs. For now, let’s just say it’s really nice to have the Conservancy involved.
In 2009, the new Tom and Audrey appeared around St. Patty’s Day, as osprey usually do. The osprey return every spring around the same time the tundra swans are leaving. As these osprey were probably a young pair, and maybe even offspring of our original Tom and Audrey, they were not very proficient at nest building for the first couple of years. The poor nests during this time were rather sparse, but still did the job. This year’s nest is a thing of beauty, enhanced with prefab sticks. You may have noticed three sticks in the nest with pink survey tape attached. Our Tom and Audrey are very lucky osprey, and certainly have picked the right spot to build a nest. Every spring, Crazy Osprey Man carefully places specially selected sticks, cut to the appropriate length, in the backyard. He usually ties tape to some of the sticks to track their use. This year, we were able to identify three of the marked sticks in the nest. As nest building continues, these sticks are more difficult to see, but if you look closely, you may still be able to see a little pink ribbon attached to some of the nest sticks.
We will continue to update you with “News from the Nest”, and include some historical information and stories about osprey incidents in years past. The blog will also contain observations and comments from Dr. Paul Spitzer, noted ornithologist and osprey expert who is also watching Tom and Audrey via the webcam. Certainly the big excitement this week is the laying of the first egg, which we noticed about 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17. We expect to observe one or two more eggs in the nest over the next few days. Keep your eyes open, and maybe you will be the first to spot egg number two!!!
Until next time, Crazy Osprey Man and friends.