Waiting and Watching-Part Two

Audrey has now laid three eggs!

Audrey has now laid three eggs!

Well, well, well!  Greetings from the Eastern Shore!  I just returned home from work, and there it was!  Egg #3!!  So Waiting and Watching-Part One has concluded and Waiting and Watching-Part Two begins!

Tom looks very much the the proud papa, sitting on a piling on the dock surveying his kingdom.  Audrey is hunkered down in the nest, now trying to keep three eggs and herself warm in the breezy and cool waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  The Conservancy folks are trying to get a photo of the three eggs, they will have to be quick, as Audrey is not up very often.  But I saw the three eggs with my own eyes a few moments ago when she was doing some housekeeping in the nest, and the tres huevos are looking good!  There is also a fair amount of paper in the nest, don’t know where it came from, but I do know it was brought there by an osprey!

This would be a good time to start sharing some of Dr. Spitzer’s observations and insights.  So here goes!!

From Dr. Spitzer in an email to the Conservancy on April 9, 2013 at 4:29 a.m. (his comments are in quotes-the baby blue plastic was gone the next day):

” It will be easy to provide a little guidance about what is going on at this nest. The three survey sticks with magenta day-glo tape (now mostly buried in the nest) and the current baby-blue plastic have been very entertaining for faraway me.  Ospreys are famous for including all manner of stuff in their nest.  Thus the objet trouve “found object” modern art joke.

Ospreys reform their pair bond after spending the winter apart.  This pair is still cooperatively rebuilding their nest.  Eggs will come very soon, and the timeline on completion of the clutch (and all that hopefully follows) will be very interesting, and could perhaps be logged at the website.

It is easy to distinguish the individuals at this nest–one has buff in the white on the back of the head.  Also there are sexual differences, more marked in some pairs than others.  I’ll study this pair carefully in good light, and get back to you on that directly.  The roles male and female play in the breeding effort will be very different.  She will do most of the incubation.  He will do all the hunting for both of them, until the nestlings are very large.  In the current pair-bonding/cooperative nest-building/mating phase, he resumes provisioning her after their many months apart.  Thus you will hear her food-begging calls in the soundtrack.  Also, you hear guard calls when other ospreys (and also people) come too close.  Ospreys are fairly social with other ospreys, they form loose, exploded “colonies” when nest sites and food are abundant, but they do defend the nest site and a perimeter of variable size around it.

More soon–I’ll send you a series of notes.  Now I have to prep for my dawn loon watch.”

Paul Randolph Spitzer, Ph.D.
Windy Hill on the Choptank River, MD
April 9, 2013

Thank you, Dr. Spitzer, for providing your insight.  So all of you blog readers will have something to look forward to, tomorrow we will post his next email, which was sent later in the day on April 9, and was written after Dr. Spitzer spent some time observing the nest in good light.

That’s it for now from the beautiful, albeit cool and breezy, Eastern Shore!

Crazy Osprey Man and Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man