Good morning from the fabulous Eastern Shore of Maryland! Life has been busy, busy here at the secret location with graduation parties, New Student Orientation, shopping for dorm necessities and unfortunately, chasing the almighty dollar at work. I have finally had a chance to go through our photos and amaze you all with our next blog.
As promised, I will now regale you with a most heartwarming retelling of the events of Wednesday, June 17, 2015 here at the secret location. After it became painfully obvious that our eggs were not viable and would not hatch, Dr. Paul Spitzer, our dear friend and osprey ornithologist, suggested that we find a foster chick to place in our nest for Tom and Audrey to raise. A flurry of activity ensued between the Chesapeake Conservancy, Craig Koppie, raptor biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Crazy Osprey Family. Mr. Koppie had been involved with a situation on Poplar Island involving a pair of ospreys who had been attempting to build a nest on a piling where the barges pulled in. Poplar Island, which is located in the Chesapeake Bay, is currently being rebuilt by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using clean dredged materials from the Chesapeake Bay’s approach channels to Baltimore, which is located approximately 30 miles to the north, north/west of Poplar Island. The pair of ospreys in question would try to do some nest building, and the nest would be knocked off by the barges. This situation kept repeating itself until one day when the female laid two eggs on the piling. The nest consisted of a few sticks laying on the piling, certainly not an ideal place to incubate and raise osprey chicks, especially with barges coming and going all day and disturbing the nest.
Koppie and other wildlife biologists decided to remove the eggs and place them in a foster nest where a female osprey was already incubating three eggs. There are twenty five active osprey nests on Poplar Island, and it was not difficult to find a suitable foster mother to incubate the eggs. The Chesapeake Conservancy contacted Mr. Koppie, who works as a raptor biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It seemed that our mutual situations would be a great fit to solve his problem of potentially having too many chicks in one nest and our problem of not having any chicks in our nest. He checked the nest in early June, and determined that four of the five eggs had hatched, and two of the chicks needed to be relocated to ensure the survival of all four young. Now a suitable day to transfer the chicks to our nest had to be identified. Mr. Koppie wanted to wait for a day that was not sweltering hot, and preferably wanted to place the chicks early on a cool morning when they were ten to fourteen days old.
On June 16, 2015, Mr. Koppie, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists Peter McGowan and Robbie Callahan, visited the foster nest and saw that the four chicks were doing well. A decision was made to remove the two chicks with the greater weight and body condition to become foster chicks in Tom and Audrey’s nest here on Kent Island. I am sure the adult pair at that nest were probably happy to have two less mouths to feed! Tom Collins from Kool Ice & Seafood Company, Inc. in Cambridge, Maryland donated fresh menhaden so Mr. Koppie would be able to feed the foster chicks before they were placed in the nest on Wednesday morning. Apparently, ospreys will not eat fish that have already been frozen. Mr. Koppie fed the chicks at around 10:00 p.m. that night.
Wednesday morning, June 17 arrived, clear and refreshingly cool, a perfect scenario for the chick transfer. Mr. Koppie and his associate, Teena Gorrow from Salisbury University, arrived at the secret location along with a reporter and photographer from Hearst Broadcasting. He took the chicks out of his bag, and placed them on our deck table while getting ready.
Here was our first meeting with our new foster chicks. Remember, you should click on each photo to enlarge it for your viewing pleasure:
Like most babies, they didn’t stay awake very long:
This is one of my favorite photos of our new chicks, such an artistic shot!
I’m sure our babies were quite perplexed at the series of events that brought them to our deck table:
Everyone got to snap lots of photographs:
COM and I got to hold our new friends. Osprey Girl was happy to take photos, and didn’t have any desire to hold the young ospreys. .
And then the transfer began. First, Mr. Koppie and COM got their equipment together to go out to the nest. COM had already set up his giant stepladder. I manned the video camera, and Osprey Girl memorialized the events of the day with our super duper Nikon:
Audrey was on the nest, wondering about all the commotion. Tom was nowhere to be found:
Then the trudge through the water began. Fortunately, the tide was not too high that morning:
As COM and Mr. Koppie approached the nest, Audrey, who had gotten out of dodge when the gentlemen started out toward her, reappeared. Look closely, and you will see her approaching them. She is to the right of the nest just at the junction of the water and land:
Mr. Koppie went up the ladder with his bag, which held a container to retrieve two of the eggs. He had made a decision to leave one egg in the nest so if Tom and Audrey did not take to their foster chicks immediately, they would still have the urge to sit on the egg and would remain at or near the nest to facilitate bonding with the new arrivals:
In the meantime, Audrey was not far away and was not happy:
The first thing that Mr. Koppie did was to remove two of the eggs. He placed them gently into a container so the eggs may be examined at a later time to try to determine why they did not hatch:
Meanwhile, Mr. Koppie’s faithful companion, Crazy Osprey Man, was waiting patiently with his precious cargo:
Mr. Koppie brought the bag containing the eggs down, and carefully brought the bag containing the chicks up the ladder to begin the transfer. Audrey is still noisily protesting and not leaving the area:
Check out Mr. Koppie’s right hand!
After both chicks were successfully placed in the nest, Mr. Koppie took some photos:
Literally within seconds of Mr. Koppie and COM heading back to the dock from the nest, Audrey arrived back at the nest:
After both foster chicks were safely in the nest, back on shore there was more work to be done:
Craig Koppie being interviewed by Sally Kidd, national correspondent for Hearst Television’s Washington News Bureau:
You can watch the video feed from the ospreycam of Mr. Koppie making the transfer at “Tom & Audrey’s Osprey Adoption” on YouTube.
It was so much fun to watch Audrey come back to the nest after the chicks were placed. She landed and kind of looked casually down into the nest, then did a double-take and looked again with some confusion. Being the consummate mother, she settled right down into the nest and began caring for her new babies. Mr. Koppie was ecstatic! He sure loves his birds and a success story. Look closely and you can see a small head:
I am sure you are wondering where Tom was while all of the excitement was going on. So were we! But not very long after things settled down, the proud father returned, only he didn’t know he was a proud father until he looked down in the nest:
After a few angonizing hours, everyone was fed, and life with chicks at the nest began for another season. And weren’t we all delighted at such an incredible outcome?
So that is our osprey adoption story in a nutshell!
I have some great photos for the next blog, and will attempt to answer many of the questions that have been popping up from our faithful camera watchers and blog readers. In the meantime, make sure you vote for your preferred pair of names for our babies. Please go to https://surveymonkey.com/r/ospreynames to vote for your favorite!
Until next time, we remain-
Crazy Osprey Man, Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man and Osprey Girl
Here is our latest winner of the “Where in the World Are Tom and Audrey” contest:
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://chesapeakeconservancy.org today. Thanks very much!
This is killing me. McSneaky being fed – again – while babies still pancaked!
It just stole the tail piece again. OMG!
TOM I ALMOST GOT OFF THE SITE LAST YEAR, DON’T DO IT, THEY WILL GET AGGRESSIVE, AND TAKE THE FOOD, AND LET US HOPE FOR ANOTHER FISH TONIGHT.IT IS A GLUTTEN, BUT THEY ARE WHEN THEY ARE IT’S SIZE, HOPING IT WILL START FISHING FOR IT’S OWN FOOD SOON. THE BABIES WERE AFRAID OF THE OVERHEAD WHATEVER. IT WILL CHANGE. I YANK A LOT OF CHAINS, BUT I KNOW THE THE DRILL. YOU NEED ANY OF MY MEDS???? I WAS A BASKET CASE OVER MY SPITZ, WE HAD HEAD PECKING , YOU NAME IT IT HAPPENED. POSITIVE THING IS THEY ARE A GREAT SIZE, AND HAVE BEEN WELL FED PRIOR TO IT !!!PRAYERS HELP ALSO. HANG IN !!
LOL.. Kathy, that made me LOL for real. Yea these guys know what they’re doing. It’s all lesson learning for them. Tonight seemed like it was one thing after another for the little guys. The eldest one is flying a lot so he’s burning way more calories so he can’t really help himself. You’re right, he’ll be catching his own pretty soon.
I’ve been watching osprey and other nests a long time. I know the drills, dramas, etc. What is going to be is going to be. And that is it. Some live, some die. That’s it. That’s life. That’s nature.
Tom, we know it’s nature and as in nature it’s survival of the fitest, however I do feel that was a bit insensitive. We all have humanized over “our” Osprey family at some point. I think I speak for most of us when I say, we just want the best for all of them, including Oliver. 🐥🐥🐥🐥🐥
IT IS TOUGH, THAT’S WHY I AM ON MEDS, AND ITS YAPPYING MOUTH WON’T STOP !! KEEP HOPING FOR ANOTHER FISH.
The Woods Hole cam was turned off today. After one of the two nest mates attacked the other pushing it to the very edge of the nest and off the nest entirely (it was rescued but died the next day), the parents seemed to abandon the nest. The last fish was brought on Monday, nothing on Tuesday; it was removed to a center on Wednesday. Ya might say that aggressive behavior has consequences…
I am very thankful that Tom3b feeds our nest as well as he does for such a young parent!
It’s been a tough year for ospreys, for sure.
Actually, it may seem so but ospreys are making a great leap forward in numbers all over the world. I’d say it has been a very hard year for the WATCHERS seeing nature in-the-raw. Us watchers are usually watching many nests, some from all over the globe. The more you watch, the more you see and, thanks to the Internet, the more you hear about. Good news tends to travel slower than bad news. Yet, many, many thousands of people heard about the historic events here with the fostering. I’ve seen update comments posted at many sites for the fostering and now about our interloper. Ospreys are hard-wired to feed the young regardless of parentage.
OUR BABIES, ARE GETTING SOME AGGRESSION , BIT BY BIT, MY GREATEST MOMENT LAST YEAR WAS WHEN SPITZ, STOOD UP, AND TOOK THE FISH, AND SPREAD HIS WINGS WIDE, AND SAID NOW BEAT IT, THIS IS MINE !!! THESE NOT SO LITTLE, THANKS TO GOOD FEEDING BEFORE IT CAME, ARE GETTING READY FOR THAT. YOU SHOULD HAVE HEARD SPITZ’S LANGUAGE IT WAS NOT VERY NICE !!!
Kathy! You know they are going to have to lock you in a room with padded walls, floors and ceilings if Spitz ever comes back — right? 🙂 Love ya!
I KNOW, I WONDER IF I WOULD KNOW HIM ??? WELL ON MEDS I PROBABLY WOULD !! I SERIOUSLY LOVED THAT BIRD !! HE WAS A HOOT, HE WAS THE LAST TO LEAVE, AND STAYED IN THAT NEST ALL BY HIS LONESOME, , LIKE SEE ME, I AM FINALLY IN CHARGE. HE WAS AWESOME !!!~~~~JUST LAY THERE AND LOUNGE, IT WAS A SIGHT, AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO SAW THAT ??????????
ANYONE HEARD FROM TOM ??? I HAVE NOT SEEN HIM IN A WHILE .HE NEEDS TO MAKE A DELIVERY .
He did already earlier but the chicks didn’t get much.
YOU MEAN SINCE THE LAST ONE, WHEN THE CHICKS WERE LAYING LOW ???
Reminder: parents use food to help encourage fledging and learning to fish for themselves…hard to accept but it works!
Sorry, I meant LACK of food…
I was unable to watch this eve and do appreciate everyone’s posts and comments. Lets be positive and hope the fish keep coming. I think the little ones will learn to assert themselves more if the ” teenager ” stays in the picture. This remains the most harmonious nest, at least judging by the nests I have been watching. It seems, given their history, that these birds would welcome a newcomer. I will say my prayers tonight and the birds will be in them. Love this nest !
Looks very peaceful in the nest right now. Getting all snuggled in for a good night sleep. 😴😴😴
I didn’t get much of a chance to watch the nest today…did all the babies seem to get enough food? They all see very content. 😊😊😊
Ah Peace in the evening. Sounds like there was very much drama today again! However, as CC mentioned before the chicks are all learning together and from each other. Maine and Montana are learning to be more assertive and Tom will be showing Oliver(?) how to fish. I thought I caught Oliver all wet yesterday! M&M are now able to stand up much for a longer period and have begun their wing exercises. I like Oliver for the newcomer as well. It fits the situation (one of Mrs. Com’s choices) of its abandonment or lost situation. Rather poignant. “More porridge, please” “Or else I’ll take it!!” So to bed, perchance to dream….dream of fish, lots of it…..:)
So nice to see that all are doing well!!!! that’s wonderful!! Good night all!
Hello All, Are we moving to the new blog?
Haven’t seen Oliver MacGyver this morn.??
Thank You Mrs. Com for letting us know
what is going on. Our babies are growing
NEW BLOG… “E.T. Phone Home” Link below!