Good evening from the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland! It is a wonderful evening, eighty two degrees with a very light breeze blowing from the south southeast. Over the past several days, there has been a plethora of Facebook traffic upon which to comment. I will make a few observations and answer some pressing questions from the viewers. The meat of this blog, however, will be a true story from the annals of Crazy Osprey Man, the telling of which was spurred by Facebook discussions regarding young ospreys falling from the nest. But first to address a few points:
Just to set the record straight, there was no big party at the home of Crazy Osprey Man and Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man on Saturday night. At around 7:00 p.m., we took a boat ride to watch some fireworks in the area. If we are going boating at night, we will turn on flood lights attached to the back of the house that illuminate our backyard. The lights are visible for many miles over the water, so they act as a safety beacon to guide us back to the dock at night. Ambient light from the flood lamps also makes the nest visible at night. When Audrey was observed doing the head bob at around 10:24 p.m., her consternation was caused by us coming back to the dock. I chuckled when I read the Facebook post about her head bobbing, because I saw her doing it as we pulled in and wondered if any of the astute ospreycam watchers would notice. And you didn’t let me down! The lights were turned off at around 11:00 p.m., so all of the anxious camera watchers could finally go to bed.
Regarding a Sunday discussion on Facebook about the return of our young osprey to their original nest after their first migration: After the chicks leave in late summer, they will not return to this area next year. We would expect them to return in 2015, but they will be all grown up and not recognizable. Every year when the ospreys return around St. Patrick’s Day, there is much squabbling over the nest. Over the years of observing our osprey, we have theorized that some of the returning ospreys are offspring of our original Tom and Audrey pair, and the current pair. The young head for home sweet home (similar to recent college graduates), but are told in no uncertain terms by their osprey parents to get their own apartments. After much ensuing confusion around the nest, everything is sorted out and the young ospreys finally find their own digs.
A question was posed on Facebook inquiring as to what would happen if one of the chicks fell out of the nest. As I am sure you have observed, the nest is getting quite crowded. The “flap” portion of the promised hop, flap, hover maneuver has begun. There is much flapping (and serious head bonking) to come, and when the hop and hover are added, it is a sight to behold. Keep watching, it is Nature’s own comedy show! But I digress from the matter at hand, so back to the question of chicks falling out of the nest:
So now to a true tale from the annals of Crazy Osprey Man’s (COM) notes from the past. The year is 2000 and the date is July 17. This was the sixth year with our original Tom and Audrey pair. As this was before our first camera was installed by COM in 2002, we were watching the nest through telescoping and gyrostabilized binoculars. Three chicks had been observed in the nest by this time, and two of them had just begun to fly.
At 7:00 a.m., Crazy Osprey Man heard a panicked call from Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man that one of the three babies was in the water between the nest and the shore. Crazy Osprey Man ran to the end of the dock to get the wire crab net, then jumped into the water to try and scoop up the baby to save it from drowning. As he got close to the distressed bird, the baby began to fly-swim (word taken directly from COM’s notes) toward shore. The baby osprey would push his wings down on the surface of the water, which would lift his/her body up and move the bird one or two feet forward toward the rip-rap (stones that run along our shoreline to protect the backyard from erosion). In twenty or so flap-strokes, the Michael Phelps of the osprey world arrived at the rip-rap and climbed onto the rocks, tired and wet but safe. As the wayward baby had literally just learned to fly, we were worried about him/her making it back to the nest. After a rest from the ordeal and a little drying off, the little heart-stopping troublemaker flew back to the nest. A huge sigh of relief was heard from the human pseudoparents. Whew!
If you have read the title of this blog carefully, you have probably figured out that there is a second rescue at sea tale to be told. You will just have to wait and see!
Before closing, Osprey Girl has asked me to share the first winner(s) of her “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” Photo Contest. There is a three-way tie for the winner posted to this blog. She presents to you:
That’s it for tonight. Until next time, we remain,
Crazy Osprey Man and Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man
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