Day Forty Two and Counting

Good evening from the lovely Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is a beautiful evening, clear and cool. As I am sure all of you have observed on the ospreycam, two of our eggs have hatched, and the third one is getting way overdue. Just as a recap, the first egg was laid on April 15 at 7:11 a.m., the second egg was laid on April 18 at 7:00 a.m. and the third egg was laid on April 21 at 8:08 a.m. Egg Number 1 hatched on May 24 at 5:31 a.m. and Egg Number 2 hatched on May 27 at approximately 9:00 a.m. There is video footage of both hatchings on the Conservancy’s Facebook page. I know you can all do the math, but so you don’t have to put on your thinking caps, the first two eggs each took thirty nine days to hatch. It is now Day Forty Two since Egg Number 3 was laid, and things aren’t looking so good for a third chick. According to Dr. Spitzer, our resident osprey biologist and good friend, it is not likely at this point that the third egg will hatch. But in his own words, Dr. Spitzer said “But give it a bit longer”. After all of the drama last year with Ozzie, I am not sure we want a third chick at this late date. It would be so much smaller and weaker than the other two chicks that it might have a hard time thriving. But as we saw time after time last year, Mother Nature has her own plans, and we will see what we will see!

COM pulled out his handy dandy osprey notebook for me, and here were our statistics for last year’s eggs: Eggs were laid on 4/17/2013, 4/19/2013, 4/23/2013 and a surprise egg on 4/25/2013 (the first time since we have had our camera that we observed four eggs). The first three hatched on 5/26, 5/29 and 6/2, respectively. Hatch times were thirty nine days for Egg Number 1, forty days for Egg Number 2 and forty days for Egg Number 3. Although we all anxiously watched and waited, Egg Number 4 never hatched, eventually broke in the nest and disappeared. I don’t know about all of you, but I will be both disappointed and relieved at the same time if Egg Number 3 doesn’t hatch.

You all know by now that our blogs are intended to supplement what you are seeing in the nest. We have been watching our camera since 2002, and much of what can be seen is sometimes rather repetitive, but at the same time, exhilarating. On May 23, COM and I witnessed something we had never seen in the past twelve years of camera watching. There were a couple of comments on the Conservancy’s Facebook page about this incident. For those of you who didn’t have the good fortune to be watching, a rather large, dark and fuzzy looking creature, quite dead, made its way into the nest. We didn’t see who brought the offending detritus into the osprey’s sanctuary, but I am guessing it was that jokester Tom. As I was watching the ospreycam, it appeared to me to be a large piece of some sort of deceased mammal, as I thought I could see the ruffling of fur in the breeze. I kept my eye on the computer while I was conducting my domestic chores. Tom returned to the nest, and as I was watching, he grabbed the unknown organic matter with his talons and beak, and dragged it to the edge of the nest. When he got it almost to the point where it was ready to fall into the drink, he took a good hold of it and flew off to the electric box on the end of our dock. This is one of Tom’s favorite places to enjoy a good meal and I bet he was looking forward to filling his belly with a delectable treat. I put our super duper 30 power, tripod mounted Swarovski binoculars on the unknown mass, and lo and behold, it was some sort of bird (the feathers were a clue), not a mammal. Tom sat there a moment, tore a bloody piece out of the bird and attempted to eat it. Can you say cannibal? But when he got a good bite and tried to swallow, he shook his head and smacked his beak several times. The piece of Uncle Bird fell out of his mouth, and fell into the water. Not to be deterred, Tom tried again. Same results. A few shakes of the head, a few smacks of the beak, and the disposal of the Uncle Bird nugget. Tom looked like a little kid who had taken a bite out of something he didn’t like and spit it out! I had to laugh out loud, it was really, really funny to watch him. I don’t think he could figure out what the heck he was trying to eat, but he sure knew he didn’t like it! After a few tries, he took off from the electrical box with his former treasure, flew over the dock, dropped the unsavory dead bird right on it and kept going until he reached his favorite tree. I’m not sure how ospreys get a bad taste out of their mouths, but if there was a way to do it, I am sure Tom was trying to figure it out. I sent COM down to the dock to remove the unwanted meal, and into the drink it went. The crabs should have enjoyed the tasty morsel if Tom didn’t.

Dr. Spitzer has a scientific request for all of you camera watchers out there. He would like to keep track of the number and type of fish that Tom is catching and bringing back to the nest. Most of the fish that are being caught are menhaden. If anyone sees a fish (or part of a fish, as is usually the case) being brought back, please keep track of the time. Identifying the type and number of fish being caught would be of great interest to Dr. Spitzer, so please post your observations on the Conservancy’s Facebook page, and we will get the data to Dr. Spitzer.

The Chesapeake Conservancy will be having an osprey naming contest, but are waiting to determine the final number of chicks to be named. Check on their Facebook page for further details.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photographs from last year. This was taken after one of our famous Full Moon Dock Parties. If you would like to read the whole story, please go back to my blog dated June 25, 2013-A Very Special Evening With Our Very Special Osprey Family. You can click on the photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Our osprey nest in the full moon-June 2013

Our osprey nest in the full moon-June 2013

Oh, but one more. A surprise photo. Guess who?

Guess who?

Guess who?

I will be posting a different photo of this lovely couple in each of the next few blogs. First person to correctly guess the identity of our mystery couple will get a good prize, I just don’t know what it is yet!

Until next time, we remain

Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man and Osprey Girl

If you are enjoying the osprey camera and blog, please consider a donation to the Chesapeake Conservancy so they are able to continue supporting programs such as this one. Go to http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!

75 thoughts on “Day Forty Two and Counting

  1. Winner of the Great Give 2014?
    Thank you for the great blog! After last year and the struggles that Ozzie had I also have mixed feelings about the third egg.

      • Thanks, Sarah. We can get the Conservancy to repost that blog as a Thursday Throwback. I will let them know. Thanks for following the camera and our blogs. Mrs. COM

    • What struggles did Ozzie have, other than being small – was she hen-pecked by siblings? (I just started watching this webcam yesterday; have it on all the time now)

      • Hi, Therese. Thanks for your question. Yes, Ozzie was small. She was hatched from the last egg that was laid, so was the last to hatch. Her siblings had a significant head start on her. She was picked on by Chester, and pecked unmercifully to the point that many of the camera watchers were begging for an intervention. In addition to getting picked on, she did not get as much food as Chester and Essie, so did not thrive and grow like her siblings. It was really touch and go for quite a few weeks, and we were not sure she would make it. Fortunately, her fate had a good ending. We did have a chick that did not make it one year, and it was heartbreaking to watch its slow demise. With only two chicks, the chance that one will not get enough food is remote.

      • Thanks for the answer. That’s what I thought — I noticed the elder of the current two chicks pecking the little brown one already – also noticed that he/she only does so when hungry, so shortage of food would fuel the pecking. Also noticed that Audrey feeds the eldest bird first, then feeds little brown one.
        Poor Ozzie – runts are so loveable. I hope she grew strong and resides near fish-laden streams.

    • Hi, Susan! Glad you like the blog. Osprey Girl will be taking over some of the blogging duties as soon as finals are over. Susan Borschel was the winner of the Great Give, the results are on the Conservancy’s Facebook page.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful blog update on Tom and Audrey. I worried all last summer until Ossie left the nest. I am always amazed at how motherly Audrey was to Ossie in the heat of August when she continuely cast her body against the sun to provide shade. I just started watching last year and know after watching all last summer why I love animals and birds.

    Thanks COM and Mrs CM and C Girl.

    • You are very welcome, Sylvia. We are glad you are enjoying the blogs and camera. It is amazing to watch the osprey parents in action, Tom bringing home the “bacon” (fish bacon) and Audrey tending to her chicks. Nature is amazing, no doubt about it! Enjoy the rest of your week. Mrs. COM

  3. I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed watching Tom and Audrey and the as-yet unnamed chicks. There have been a few moments of panic, more moments of awe, and a few of just hurry-up-and-wait. I was laid up last week not feeling well, and a friend asked what I’m done to keep myself occupied. I said I’d spent most of the time watching Tom and Audrey and the little chicks. I’ve started to see the patterns of their lives and now I feel like they’re part of the family. Thanks for your work on this – it’s a joy to behold.

    • Thank you so much for watching the ospreycam and reading our blogs. We always enjoy positive reinforcement, so thanks for the kind words. There will be lots more to come this summer, so stay tuned! Mrs. COM

    • Thanks for the kind words, Jan. It is always good to get some praise from our loyal followers, makes us want to keep going. It’s going to be a fun summer watching our family grow up. We are glad you are enjoying the camera and our blogs. Mrs. COM

  4. Is the photo of Osprey Girl and COM? MY answer seemed to get lost of the blog somehow–maybe I didn’t answer it correctly. So here it goes again. Thanks for all the blog writing by you and others of the COFamily. Lots of work for you but means alot to us fans.

    • Oops, I meant to say that my answer got lost ON the blog somehow–because I might not have entered it correctly, sorry.

    • Very good guess, Linda, but you are not correct! Thanks for your participation, but not a winner. Keep trying! Thanks for reading our blogs and watching the ospreycam. You are right, it is a lot of work, but thanks from the fans make it all worthwhile. Mrs. COM

  5. Just wanted to say how much I love the Osprey Cam! I work in a middle school, and keep the cam up when I can. I also shared with others, and a couple of the science teachers have put it up in their classrooms and put a link on their teacher webpages. They showed the highlights video from last year, and it was fun to see the kids get into it, rooting for the chicks when they were trying to fly. Thank you for all you do!

    • Hi, Amy! Where is your school? We are very happy that the middle school kids are being exposed to what happens in nature. Thank you for sharing the ospreycam with them. Osprey Girl will be taking over some of the blogs once her exams are over. She will be running a contest called “Where In The World Are Tom and Audrey?” (sort of like a Flat Stanley thing). When your students are on vacation this summer, they will be able to send in a photo of themselves watching the ospreycam from wherever they are. Each a week, a winning photo will be posted on our blog. So get the kids thinking about entering the contest now! The summer blogs from last year have photos posted of the winners, so the students can get an idea of what to do this summer. Thanks for reading our blogs and enjoying the camera. Mrs. COM

  6. Our school is in Howard County, Maryland, so the kids hear about the Cheseapeake Bay a lot! I will let the classes know about the contest. Cool!

    • Thanks, Amy! The contest will be announced in a blog, and probably on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page as well. If any of the kids (or adults) enter, make sure they let us know where they are from, and we will give a shout out to your school. Mrs. COM

  7. is the pic mrs. com and dr. spitzer? And thanks for the comparison info from last year. i too will fell bittersweet if the third egg doesnt hatch. i prayed and cried for ozzie alot last year.

    • Ah, really good guess, Kris, but not the correct answer. Keep trying! Another photo of the happy couple will be posted in the next blog, so you can think about it for a few days. Mrs. COM

  8. Finally tom just brought a fish 5:16pm a whole big fish-looks like the same kind as usual audrey grabbed it right up n started feeding. whew was gettin worried-been all afternoon, i think.

    • Hi, Kris. Thanks for the fish info, but please post it on the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page if you can. That’s where we are going to retrieve the fish information. Mrs. COM

  9. Didn’t see the message to Kris before. Now I remember that you said that was where to post it! Will do.

    • You are coming up with some great guesses, Kris! But no prize for you yet. New photo will be posted in the next blog. Thanks for trying! Mrs. COM

  10. Hi Mr. & Mrs. COM… Chick #2 was soooo close to the edge of the nest several times today… if she happened to fall out – would you be allowed (?) to rescue her?

    • Hi, Bonne! If we were to see a chick fall out of the nest, we would definitely try to rescue it. Check out two of our blogs from last summer, Rescue at Sea #1 dated 7/10/2013 and Rescue at Sea #2 dated 7/18/2013. True stories from years past. Enjoy! Mrs. COM

  11. We are truly enjoying this webcam and your blog, thank you for all that you do. I know you’ll be having naming contests soon, but we call them “BigFoot” and LittleFoot” for the moment. Sometimes we get mad at BigFoot for nudging out LittleFoot when Mom is feeding them but lately LittleFoot seems to be getting more of his or her share. Nature is truly amazing to watch, better then a movie, that’s for sure!

    • We are very happy that you are enjoying the ospreycam and blog. The Conservancy should be announcing the naming contest very soon. They were just waiting to see how many chicks there would be to name, and it seems like there will be only two this year. That’s not a bad thing, everyone should be well fed! Thanks for the kind words. Mrs. COM

  12. what a good mama audrey is-i love the way she spreads her wings to shade the babies from the sun and rain. also i never realized til i started watching last year that birds pant!! thought that was interesting. wish i had such a wonderful opportunity to be so close to these beautiful birds

  13. I am getting a laugh out of Baby A trying to figure out what to do with his or her wings, they are so funny. They just go this way and that and Baby A wobbles everywhere like they are to heavy. I am enjoying every moment watching Tom and Audrey with their babies. They are the best parents. Some scary moments when babies get to close to the edge of the nest. Thanks again for sharing.

  14. Another guess for me—Crazy Osprey Daughter and Dr Bierrgaard? Oldest hasn’t fit into its wings yet. ” What in the world do I do with these big ole things!” Looks like new feathers are coming out on the eldest??

  15. yea, kids probably wouldnt like those names!! i name them in the first 24 hrs. last year we had stripe, flop and crash!! is the pic com. and the lady who owns business they r in front of? OR my hubby says mr. & mrs. dr. spitzer?

    • Your names from last year sound like good names for the kids of an insurance agent! No go on the guess, but now you are starting to get a little inventive, which you will need to win grand prize! Mrs. COM

    • Sometimes the light will be from the moon. During a full moon on a clear night, it almost looks like daylight at the nest. Once in a while, we will have our floodlights on in the back yard, but very rarely. We also have a light on our flagpole in the back yard, maybe some light from there. But the camera is very good in low light, so it could just be picking up very small amounts of ambient light. Thanks for the great question. Mrs. COM

  16. I just saw what happened to the broken egg soon after Audrey got up off chicks. I wrote a message to the CC regarding it. At first it looked she had picked it up to throw it away, but started eating the inside. She pulled out a tiny chick that has now dropped into the water. You can the read the rest of the story on the message to CC I believe. I think you can find it there?

  17. i looked on the cc page and didnt see it. this is the first night in a while i havent been watching at that time–maybe divine intervention–not sure i would have wanted to see it. but i did have a feeling last year that that was what probably happened to the unhatched egg

  18. Can someone please explain to me how to find status & naming and so forth on the CC FB page? I “have” FB but never use it — I go to the CC page and do not see updates — only comments from 2013 & a few from April.

    Also, is the little one OK? She seems to be moping/not eating today? Poor thing.

    • Hi, Tessie. If you post a comment on the Facebook page, I am sure one of the other Facebook mavens will be glad to help. I am not sure what you are asking. Thanks for reading our blogs and watching the camera. Mrs. COM

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