Who’s Your Daddy?

Good evening from the breezy, no, that would be windy, Eastern Shore of Maryland!  Well, I guess there is never a dull moment here at the secret location.  Just when we were looking forward to a nice, normal third season, BAM!  The drama is starting early this year.  After Audrey returned from her winter vacation a little earlier than last year, we were all waiting with bated breath for the return of her faithful companion, Tom.  But lo and behold, a great osprey mystery ensued!

Audrey waiting for her Prince Charming

Audrey waiting for her Prince Charming

As most of the regular blog readers and ospreycam watchers are probably aware, there have been many questions as to the true identity of our male osprey this season.  I have conducted a detailed analysis of Facebook postings and blog comments, and consulted with Dr. Paul Spitzer and Dr. Rob Bierregaard.  In addition, I have spent many hours (which I don’t have to be looking at birds) observing the ospreys at our nest.  Here at the secret location, we have the advantage of being able to view images from the nest directly from the camera without the images coming across the internet.  Our enhanced view makes it a little easier to ascertain subtle differences between visitors and residents at the nest.  So here is my unscientific analysis. Remember, you can click on each photograph to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure:

3/16/2015:  Audrey arrives back to the secret location, and begins nest building the same day.

Another great photo of Audrey snagging a COM stick from the backyard

Another great photo of Audrey snagging a COM stick from the backyard

Audrey in her stick tree where she breaks off sticks in flight and takes them to the nest.

Audrey in her stick tree where she breaks off sticks in flight and takes them to the nest.

Close-up of Audrey in the stick tree

Close-up of Audrey in the stick tree with some visible broken branches

3/23/2015:  By this time, Audrey has been busy building her nest solo, and it looks really good for so early in the season.  A visitor to the nest arrives.  This visitor is solid brownish/black like Tom.  Tom, is it you?

Audrey and the dark stranger during better days when osprey life seemed status quo

Audrey and the dark stranger during better days when osprey life seemed status quo

For a few days, we do not see the dark male return to the nest very often.  This is not the normal behavior for our returning Tom, who could usually be found either in or near the nest .  He does, however, manage to be there for the Baltimore, Maryland Channel 13 interview and taping that took place on 3/25 at the secret location.  Joel Dunn, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conservancy, was interviewed by Alex DeMetrick, a reporter from Channel 13 and the interview was broadcast later that day and the next day.  Tom, is it you?

Joel Dunn and Alex DeMetrick conducting an interview at the secret location

Joel Dunn and Alex DeMetrick conducting an interview at the secret location

Audrey and the dark stranger make an appearance for the camera

Audrey and the dark stranger make an appearance for the camera

3/27/2015:  A screen shot posted on Facebook shows Audrey and the solid color male “rolling in the hay”.

3/29/2015:  A screen shot posted on Facebook shows Audrey and the solid color male “in delicato”.

Audrey and the dark stranger during one of their last interludes.  Can't a couple get a little privacy around here?

Audrey and the dark stranger during one of their last interludes. Can’t a couple get a little privacy around here?

3/30/2015:  A screen shot posted on Facebook shows Audrey and the solid color male on the nest smoking a cigarette (only kidding, but you catch my drift).

3/31/2015:  A screen shot posted on Facebook shows Audrey and the solid color male. Tom, is it you?

And then…………….

4/1/2015:  A different male is seen in the nest.  Photos posted on Facebook show an obviously different feather color, with the male looking very mottled.  Audrey and the mottled male mate frequently over the course of the day, but she does not seem pleased.  She bites at the mottled male, which is a behavior we have not seen before from Audrey.  Based on Facebook and blog comments, there is much consternation about the identity of this male.

4/2/2015:  The mottled male continues to copulate with Audrey, and she continues to thank him for his lovemaking by biting and pecking at him.  Something is amiss!  Osprey experts need to be called in for a consult.  The Crazy Osprey Family contacts Dr. Spitzer and Dr. Bierregaard.

On April 3, we received responses from Dr. Spitzer and Dr. Bierregaard.  Here is a portion of Dr. Spitzer’s response:  

“The ospreys are back, bearing spring on their long graceful wings. In fact many have been back for awhile, and have endured some very chilly weather.  They are fresh from the tropics, and as a human I do not relate well to the sudden end of their warm “separate vacations” (a human frame of reference).  Why come back so early? Charles Darwin found the key 150 years ago, when he began to explain “evolution” by “natural selection”.  This is about passing on osprey genes.  You must reclaim your nest and your mate as soon as possible, to avoid contention for both.  My sources tell me “Tom” showed up late; and now he has been usurped by a New Male whom I will call “The Calico Cat”.  Calico displays a remarkable patchwork molt of new dark and old bleached body feathers.  The bleaching comes from Bay summer sun, plus those long tropical interludes; and perhaps from constant immersion in water.  We have contacted experts on avian molt (there are such specialists!) for their learned opinions about Calico’s very unusual mottled appearance.  (Most ospreys by contrast appear dressed in deep rich brown for a formal masquerade ball, including mask.)  We’ll let you know what they say. As to osprey ethics–that is a human cultural perspective.  These are NOT little people in feathers.  The fittest creature is the one whose genes fly into the future (by natural selection), and Calico is the Osprey of the Hour.  Although he does look a bit Punk. Remember:  Ospreys have also evolved sequential nestling starvation (brood size reduction) when there is not enough food.  BUT–they do not overpopulate, outstrip their resources, and die in famines.”

Dr. Bierregaard also gave us some very useful input.  When asked how long it would take for feathers to take on a mottled appearance, he told us at least a year.  We told him what was going on at the nest, and this was his response:  

“Ah, the spring Osprey soap operas! Yes, that was a different male—the feathers don’t fade quickly, so you’re right—this is a new guy. When one bird in a pair doesn’t survive the migration cycle, the drama can get very intense as pretenders to the throne vie to fill the vacancy. We had a nest in NH a couple of years ago where the regular male didn’t come home. The old female did and suffered through the fight with 3 males trying to claim the nest. They were all copulating with her and spending so much time fighting that they didn’t feed her or do much of anything in the way of nest building. So the platform was pretty much a sheet of plywood with a few sticks on it. The female kept laying eggs, but the males would kick the eggs out of the nest (they weren’t sure whose eggs they were). That year was a washout. But the next year, all was well. Apparently during the first year the contending males sorted it out, or 2 of them didn’t make it through the next migration cycle, or something. In any case, for the last 2 years the old female and new male have been successfully cranking out young. In fact, we’re planning on tagging the new male at that nest this spring.”

Based on what I have observed for the past few days and input from our resident osprey experts, I believe we have a different male now occupying the nest.  As Audrey has now had osprey sex with the dark stranger and the current mottled partner, the title of this blog seems quite appropriate.  But in our little osprey world, the male will always be Tom, and our female will always be Audrey.  That’s how it has been since 1995 when our first ospreys came to stay, and that tradition will carry on here at the secret location.

Last season, Audrey’s three eggs were laid on 4/15, 4/18 and 4/21/2014.  The eggs hatched on 5/24 and 5/27/2015.  The nest is looking good, and ready for some egg action.  Audrey has been bringing in soft nesting materials to line the nest, most of which has been clumps of grass clippings.  COM’s spring sticks, gaily festooned with yellow construction tape for the Easter and Passover holidays, can been be seen in the nest.  Keep an eye out for the next color sensation!

Thanks to everyone for all of your input about our current dilemma.  Until next time, we remain-

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

Remember to join us on April 16 from 4-6 p.m. at Pusser’s Caribbbean Grille Restaurant, Annapolis, Maryland for the third annual Welcome Back Osprey party.  Members of the Osprey Club are invited to hear Dr. Rob Bierregaard speak about his osprey tagging studies.  The Chesapeake Conservancy folks and The Crazy Osprey family will also be there to meet you.  You may join the Osprey Club and sign up for the party at the Conservancy’s website or Facebook page.

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!

283 thoughts on “Who’s Your Daddy?

  1. Been watching the sparrow stealing grass out from under Tom’s nose. He moves around which ever way Tom isn’t looking – it’s pretty comical.

  2. Has any one else noticed how Audrey and Tom have become such “synchronized” nest switchers as swim teams do naturally? Isn’t osprey life Grande!!

    • Hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right! That was certainly not the case last year. Audrey did a lot of squawking for meals.

  3. STAY TUNED THERE WILL BE A LOT OF FIGHTING OVER FISH !!! TOM SHOULD KNOW BY NOW IF HE BRINGS IT TO THE NEST AT THIS POINT SHE NEEDS IT, HE CAN FLY OFF AND EAT OUT ANYTIME !! IN TIME, REMEMBER WHAT I SAID ABOUT HE MUST EAT FIRST AFTER THE CHICKS COME, BECAUSE HE HAS TO DO ALMOST ALL THE CATCHING, SHE WILL HAVE HER BEAK FULL !!!IT IS A JOB TO KEEP THEM ALL FED, AND HERSELF !!

  4. Started watching off and on at around 7:30 this morning. If you haven’t looked in at that hour, you really must… the reflection of the sun in the upper-right quadrant of the frame is so beautiful in the earlier morning hours. Anyway, at 10 when I checked back in, Audrey was screeching up a storm. At about 10:02 she stood up and stepped off to the side, allowing for a great clear view of the three eggs. Beautiful! (They now look very much alike. Was it just a trick of lighting that at first there seemed to be a noticeable difference between the first and second eggs right after the second was laid? Maybe just my impression.). So, within seconds of Audrey having stood up, Tom flew in with a fish — the head eaten off, of course. Audrey screeched even more and made a lunge at the fish. Tom didn’t seem inclined to let go immediately which resulted in louder, more insistent screeching and a tug of war. Audrey won, as expected (surely Tom is just a bit slower to respond than Audrey would prefer) and Audrey took off with her breakfast. Tom dutifully settled into the nest while making little quiet noises to himself. He’s quickly learning the ropes. As I finish this just about 10:34, he’s still alone on the nest. I suppose Audrey’s having her share of the fish and “stretching her wings.” Hope it’s just as lovely a day wherever you are.

    • She squawks alot when she sees Tom overhead with a fish. Tom was a bit slow letting go. Gimme that fish NOW! Audrey says. They turn the eggs over and that can make them look different at times, the colors and speckles will not be the same to each other. If I turn on the cam in the morn I end up late for work!

  5. I love reading the comments on our Osprey friends and their time spent on camera. I can’t watch too often but I come here to catch up on what’s going on first, then I proceed to the cam. Thanks so much everyone!

  6. Linda, I’m the same, if I start looking at the camera too early in the morning, I start running late too. But it’s just so cute to see what they are doing in the morning and my little kitty likes to watch them as well. (Lillie)

  7. Hello from over cast Long Beach ca ..No rain in forecast.. Darn!! Tom just flew in talked for a while
    think he said he was going fish shopping would be back in a few Audrey didn’t seem to concerned
    I am a novice about the Chesapeake bay ..Does the tide come in and out looks like the tide has changed
    directions ..Our Bay here in LB does .. one last observation I think Audrey has found the perfect spot for the
    infamous Green thing hope it doesn’t fall off.. In Peace, Joan

    • Sat Morn almost 11am two pm. your time Just caught Tom (I think0 up and checking the
      eggs and rearranging the moss like fluff by him First thing I do when i get up is check the
      nest to see what is going on with our Mom , Dad and Babies. then I am out and about
      for several hours then home and back to checking on the Family once in a while .I am
      still mourning with the Bald Eagles over the loss of their clutch keep hoping they will
      try again this season .. They do come once in a while and fluff things up a bit.
      in Peace, Joan

  8. It is very chilly and windy here today. Downtown recording 43 degrees, partly sunny. Got really chilly in the suburbs last night. Hope Audrey is keeping warm.

    • In reply to Linda The Pittsburg Hayes Eagle eggs weren’t viable, laid early
      still very cold and snowing. I don’t think they had a chance, Sad!

    • Look for the brownish feathers at the back of Tom’s head–rather more of a rusty color-maybe that will help you. Although, at times you can’t see the back of his head! This might help you tell the difference.

  9. Just had to share this with you all. I clicked by mistake on another osprey cam (this one in New Jersey) and that nest also had a “miscellaneous” piece of sort of triangular plastic-looking thing in one corner of the nest… theirs was a sort of pale turquoise in color. Perhaps a plastic adornment is “in” for stylish Ospreys this season. It gave me a chuckle, and wanted to pass it on for your amusement. Nice to know that Audrey and Tom are keeping up appearances.

    • I went to that site (as well as several others.In MN there’s not even the first egg yet!) and I see what you mean. It appears to be some sort of paper wrapper from candy or gum, maybe. I also wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your description of early views on the nest. I’m 86 and have to be ready to leave my house several mornings by 7:30 to take a van to our Senior Center where I volunteer on the Trip Committee On the mornings I don’t go, I relish sleeping in! I’m just going to have to make the effort to rise and shine early one day.

      • Just caught Audrey coming back from an adventure Tom dutifully and gently
        moved over for her and with out a word flew off and Audrey settled down
        and as someone said all beautifully synchronized … some rain in Long Beach
        this afternoon Hope for more In Peace, Joan

  10. All relatively quiet on the nest this morning, although at 9:50 Audrey is getting a bit restless and noisy. It’s a bit overcast, so the early morning reflections on the water weren’t quit as spectacular as on some other mornings. The sparrow neighbors from downstairs have done a bit of friendly visiting. Seemed merely to sit at the outer edge of the nest and spend a minute or two chirping. BTW, I just checked out the Woods Hole osprey cam (Cape Cod) this morning. Interestingly enough, their nest also has a miscellaneous piece of plastic in a corner (in fact, it’s clearly identifiable as a blue “rubber” glove). Miscellaneous plastic bits definitely seem to be all the osprey rage this season! Maybe they’re taking up interior decorating? (I’ve been scuba diving for about 30 years, and have learned that certain marine creatures — most notably the octopus — routinely “decorate” the entrances to their homes with bits shells and other stuff… you can find a hidden octopus by looking for the outside decorations.) Is it just coincidence that several osprey nests have a piece of plastic-something in a corner? Or has that been true all along and some of us are just now catching up? Well, at least our own couple is “keeping up appearances.” (“Boo-Kay residence… the lady of the house speaking…”)

    • Thanks for sharing that Woods Hole osprey website! I live on the Cape and don’t think any eggs laid Hyannis area as both birds in the nests together. Any babies to be Woods Hole yet Fran?

      • In the northern part of the country the ospreys get back later and so the eggs arrive later as well as the chicks than the nest from the Bay cam here. Is the Woods Hole nest the one up in Maine? I’m thinking that’s one I watched last year that had an infared camera so you saw the nest at night as well. Those chicks were pretty busy at night!

  11. Fran, I love the Boo-Kay comment-I was thinking that myself as you were describing the “decor” among the nests. The osprey will pick up some weird things to put in the nests. I saw one that had a mesh bag you see onions in.

  12. All is (relatively) quiet on the nest at about 7:27 this morning as I start watching. The reflection of the sun in the upper right quadrant is a particularly bright, liquid yellow-orange finger pointing to the nest. . And by some mysteriously lovely “trick” of optics, for just a minute or two there seems to be a single glowing, flowing line of pinkish-purple light radiating out of the nest, just to the left of the yellow orange. Audrey salutes all of this morning beauty with an occasional bit of chirping. (So different from the demanding calls she issues at other times!). I love this time of day especially in the Spring. It’s so full of promise.

    Up at the Woods Hole nest, one can’t see as much of the surroundings. “Our” osprey cam — I live in Maryland, so I feel unabashedly proud of this endeavor, as though I had anything at all to do with it! — surely has the most beautiful setting and best view. And we have, without a doubt, the most delightful community with this wonderful setup for adding our own contributions to the blog. (We all appreciate the Crazy Osprey family and the personal insights they contribute to this entire experience. But do we also appreciate the additional effort it took for someone to “program in” the attractive and cheery touch of those unique color blocks attached to each contibutor, and which carry over from year to year? Once again, MANY THANKS to all the individuals who make all of this possible!). In answer to Maureen, although I haven’t seen them myself, according to the updates, as of Friday (April 24th) there are 3 eggs in that nest (at Woods Hole) as well. The Ospreys really do seem to be keeping up with each other! (But our green plastic nest ornament is so much more tastefully understated than that rather splashy blue rubber glove… perhaps Audrey will offer a candle-lit supper someday soon before the eggs hatch, of course.).

    A lovely day to all.

  13. 9:44. Is it just an illusion because of the way the light is shining? Or is that Tom on the nest singing Osprey-daddy songs? Soft notes and loud, up and down the scale by mere half tones, but still and all they are different notes. Yes, that was Tom. Just now at 9:47 Audrey landed, with her feathers all very definitely dark and even-toned. She landed, Tom promptly took off… another smooth exchange of duties. And there’s a little sparrow on the right “corner” of the nest keeping her company. (That little presence reminds me of how large the Ospreys really are.)and the sparrows add different notes and tones to the music of the nest. I’m so grateful that our camera has sound. (Can’t wait to hear the sound of hatchlings! )

    • I just looked at the Woods Hole cam-it will have a good angle for the chicks when the hatch-don’t you think? The one I had looked at last year that I mentioned was at Bremen Maine. It’s way up on a cliff overlooking a small bay and a sailboat is anchored they that you always see. The camera angle changes every so often and you can get a sweeping view of the area. I just checked in and there is a terrific wind blowing the platform-it has a perching “rod” in front of the nest the ospreys love to roost on-especially at night on guard duty when eggs hatch. It doesn’t appear there are any eggs so far. What a wind though!

      Mrs Boo-Kay must have left her cleaning glove there and well as a dark rag that hangs off to the side, a blue piece of paper and some curvy thing that is yellowish on one side and speckled on the other (almost like a plastic toy snake?). Quite a collection she has of ornaments! I do love that blue glove–I wonder if the owner saw it go up into the air by the bird, or if they are still wondering what in the world happened to it. “I know I left it right here, darn it.”

  14. Another beautifully sunny morning on the nest. Audrey is apparently asleep… eyes closed, very still. Bright reflection of yellow orange sunlight, oozing, rippling over the water. And once again, that bright fucshia streak pointing directly at the nest… this morning at 7:05 it’s flowing right into the nest and over Audrey’s shoulders. (I believe it has something to do with the angle of the light hitting the camera lens at this early hour, thus a “trick of optics.”) However it comes to be, that ray of startling color charges the scene with an extra bit of what poet Gerard Manley Hopkins described as “God’s grandeur.” (“The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out like shining, from shook foil…”). And the little sparrow perches on the edge of the nest, seeking whatever it is she needs from her neighbor this morning. What a blessing to be able to start the day with this glimpse of how it all “works together for good.” At 7:25, Audrey is awake and fussing with the nest. The fuchsia streak is gradually diminishing, disappearing. The day is on.

    • Thank You Dear Fran for your description of the lovely east coast Morn
      our Audrey is waking up to .. Just checked the nest Audrey is preening
      and all is quiet the Sun is casting a sparkly reflection to the right of the nest
      9{30 east coast time .. I am just getting up here on the west coast and miss
      a lot of the beauty. Do we have an estimate hatching time? Here in Long Beach
      the weather has turned Hot ..pushing 90 not ready for summer yet ..Joan

    • Audrey on nest 9:45 both sparrows flitting around right under her beak she doesn’t
      seem to concerned then she starts up the chatter that announces Toms arrival.
      He flew in, very impatient for his turn, nudges Audrey off the nest, she still chattering
      flies off. Tom settles down very quickly Must have had a wild night!

    • I’m so thankful for your lyrical descriptions of the times I am unable to watch the nest! I DID see the fucshia streak, but in the evening, some time after 7:00. Again, it probably has something to do with the sun’s angle and the camera.

  15. I’m not sure, but Mrs COM is a date for the first hatching around May 6? The sparrows work so well in cleaning up the nest-the birds depending on each other. I love that symbiotic(?) relationship. One hand helping the other.

    • I think last year they started hatching around Memorial Day, if I remember correctly, and this year’s first egg was laid only a few days earlier than last year.

  16. Hello, I saw Fran’s fushia ray of light streaming this morning, I took a photo but it’s a bit fuzzy. I could be wrong but it looks like Tom was sleeping very sound on the eggs. I wish we could post photos here. I’ll post it on the Chesapeake Conservancy FB page, you’ll see it under Lombard Hardware (that’s me) Lillie.

  17. If you haven’t visited the Woods Hole osprey website, it’s worth a look. Under “Updates” there’s a discussion about the debris in osprey nests and, especially, the mysterious blue glove.

    Also, thanks to the Fuller Sisters for teaching me how to spell “fuschia” (spellchecker doesn’t like that version, either!). I’m just going to have to look it up.

  18. All quiet on the nest this morning. It’s partly cloudy so reflections on the water were not as bright and there was no spectacular fuchsia streak. (By the way, don’t mean to be fussy but I AM spelling the name of that color correctly, with the “c” before the “h”, then an “s” afterward. And if you google the word, you’ll get to see a row of brilliant photos of the flower from which the color gets its name.). It is fun to check other sites, isn’t it? There’s one in New Jersey whose camera is solar powered. (It’s a wonderfully “green” concept, but unfortunately it means the camera sometimes has no power. And — alas! alas! — there’s no sound.) On their update blog they say that if there were sound, one could hear the female calling out for food. (Lucky us! We know exactly what that sounds like.) And they describe a behavior called “mantling” in which the male is “reluctant” to share his food with his mate… and that such behavior is seen in young pairs. Well, our new Tom may be young, but I rather suspect there won’t be much mantling going on in our nest. Maybe that’s what I saw once and it resulted in the bit of tug-of-war I described back on April 23, but Audrey quickly showed Tom the error of his ways! Also on the New Jersey site they say that the incubation period in New Jersey averages 35 days, although with a much cooler spring they might see a longer incubation period of closer to 40 days. Since their 3rd egg was laid on Earth Day, their “hatch watch” begins on May 22. What’s the math on our nest, I wonder? Also apprimately 35 days? I’m so ready to see and hear more activity on the nest once there are hatchlings! Still, it’s fun to observe all the other phenomena; and novice birdwatchers like me (last year was my first time ever doing anything resembling birdwatching) have much to learn. So I’ll keep paying attention to details and try to wait patiently. (I’m glad our nesting season started in mid-March). Looking forward to a much noisier nest!

  19. For all of us bird watchers, the possibilities are endless. On the Bremen, ME site there are links to owls and even penguins. This is so exciting! I rarely watch television, anyway, but now i feel I can just give my set away! I’m going to check New Jersey now.

  20. The New Jersey site proved fascinating. Dad was obviously very upset by the condition of the nest, especially by a large green piece of trash. He kept rearranging sticks at the edge and moving the trash until he appeared satisfied with its position. Then Mom flew away to get breakfast while he took over Nanny duties.

  21. Jane, your comments about the green “trash” in the New Jersey osprey nest lead me to observe that “one osprey’s trash is another’s decor.” With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I hasten to point out that our nest has just a single, tastefully arranged bit of extraneous material — definitely “decor” — as compared w/the various, multicolored prices of flotsam and jetsam in the Woods Hole nest. Audrey has obviously attended Mrs. Boo-kay’s school of tasteful nest ornamentation. Might Onslow have been the guiding hand on that other nest? Who needs television with all of this “natural” entertainment? (By the way, if you google “panda cam” you can watch pandas live on the “ipanda” site. There are multiple cameras indoors and outdoors around the complex of the panda breeding and research center in Xengdu, China. And since there’s about a 12 hour time difference, in the evening hours when all is dark here, you can watch the pandas over there just starting their day. The “toddler nursery” can be a hoot.) I hope that teachers in schools are using all of this technology to entice a new generation of biologists, ornithologists, zoologists, et al

    • I had been watching “our” panda at the Washington Zoo but have stopped because it is so sad. She’s all alone rather than being with her parents. She pushes a ball around and another sort of stick thing, sleeps and eats bamboo. Lonely life. I’ll have to check to see if her situation has changed.

  22. I just now had the thrill of seeing Spotty Tom bring a lovely headless fish to Audrey, who grabbed it and took off almost immediately.

  23. TOM LEFT THE EGGS AGAIN, AUDREY CAME BACK WITH WHAT WAS LEFT OF HER FOOD, SHE HAD TO STOP EATING, AND GET BACK ON THE EGGS, COME ON TOM, GROW UP, GIVE HER TIME TO EAT. HE IS TRULY NOT EXPERIENCED, BUT DOES WELL MOST OF THE TIME. WHEN THE CHICKS HATCH, WE WILL SEE WHAT HE IS MADE OF. HE WILL HAVE FOUR MOUTHS TO FEED.

  24. Yesterday, sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 I was watching for a bit. I don’t usually get to watch at that time, so I was amazed at the stillness of the water. It was like a sheet of glass… in fact like a looking glass reflecting a halo of clouds all around the nest, much like one of those Renaissance paintings of angels. Twice I watched Tom come to the nest and stand for a bit off to the left side of the nest, as if waiting for Audrey to get off the nest and let him take over. But Audrey just hunkered down and refused to budge. And both times, atom flew off after abut a minute. Now, in the matter of interesting things to see, today I watched somethng I incredibly bizarre on the Woods Hole Osprey nest. I “tuned in” at around 10:48 and saw the female in the nest (well, I think it was the female) there seemed to be the silhouette of a lizard “painted” in yellow down her back. “How odd,” I thought; “Have they somehow ‘marked’ their Ospreys to identify them?” I was puzzling about how and when they might have done this, never mind how, and was pondering the ethical considerations for doing such a thing to a wild creature and whether the paint would wear off quickly in the rain… when the entire silhouette thing shifted a little, and then it started to slide off her back. Turns out to have some kind of plastic ornament! Now how on earth would that kind of thing have ended up smack dab in the middle of an Osprey’s back? Very curious. Anyway, back to “our” nest: the other two I’m watching have nothing but dry brush surrounding them. Such a treat to return to ours and the soothing sight and sound of moving water. And our blog community is just wonderful. Besides that, no one else has the Crazy Osprey Family to keep us “on track” and “in the loop.” Yes, I’m a little biased. But I’m also glad that all these other cameras and conservancy groups re out there doing so much to raise awareness about protecting and preserving these magnificent creatures and the environments on which they depend. Hope everyone also takes a moment to make a contribution toward making all this possible. I just got my tax refund, and have earmarked a bit for that purpose. (I do some work for another non-profit and can tell you that if EVERYBODY gave just a little bit — even $10 or $20 — there would be no financial needs. End of commercial.

    • You are so right. In Annapolis we have “Great Give”, a 24-hour donation event.(I believe it’s nationwide.) My gift was to the Chesapeake Conservancy.

  25. The bonding between sparrows and osprey may be universal. I just went to the Woods Hole site and observed two very busy sparrows. Dad Osprey moved a large stick which was causing him some consternation and then settled down to relieve Mom. The sparrows never stopped working.

  26. It’s 8:50 and the moon is still bright enough to observe our lady who seems quite unhappy with the state of the nest. Earlier today she was attempting to move a rather large piece of wood, looking as though she was actually trying to throw it into the drink. I expect she had some help from Calico Tom because next time I looked, it was gone. One day last week I did observe the early morning beauty of which you spoke so poetically, Fran.The light on the water is exquisite. It’s very difficult to leave the site. One wishes the day would just stand still, negating all the necessary interruptions to our viewing.
    These are truly majestic creatures.

  27. Waiting with the proverbial baited breath for the first birth which might occur this week.
    Where have all the bloggers gone? I feel so lonely!

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