A Real Head Scratcher

Good morning from the soggy, but now sunny, Eastern Shore of Maryland!  It’s quite unusual for me to be sitting here in the light of day writing the blog, it usually happens in the wee hours of the evening.  I actually stayed up all night before the last blog was published, trying to get it finished before we left on a two week trip to Florida.  I was not successful in my mission, but did manage to get most of the photos uploaded so I could finish up at a remote site.  So it is kind of fun to be sitting here, looking at the nest and writing about the latest happenings.

Crazy start again, isn’t it?  I know all of you are just itching to know what’s going on.  There have been so many questions posed to us, but guess what?  We are just as much in the dark about the beginning of the season as all of you!  So for those of you who have been with us before this season, what does the Crazy Osprey Family do when there are questions?  Call in the experts!!  Our dear long time friend and osprey expert, Dr. Paul Spitzer, is down at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Apalachee Bay, Florida conducting his annual spring loon migration study.  It’s hard to catch up with him at times, but we were able to connect last night while he was eating his Easter dinner at an Indian restaurant in Tallahassee.  You gotta love Dr. Spitzer!  Between bites of his dinner, I explained to him in detail what has been going on here at the secret location.  Here are some of his thoughts:

Dr. Spitzer said it is possible that the mysterious stranger is a returned young from a previous year, since this is the current Audrey’s seventh season with us.  According to Dr. Spitzer, we know very little about that possibility because there have not been enough banding studies conducted to be sure.  He speculated that because Audrey has been tolerating the visitor so well, a returned offspring could be here.  Dr. Spitzer said, and I quote, “Once again we are making scientific history at your nest”.  He discussed some of the behaviors that are fundamental to a successful nest pair.  Two of the biggies are that the male brings food to the female and the pair engages in cooperative nest building.  We really haven’t seen either of those two things happening.  Audrey has been self-feeding and building her own nest. I told him how early Audrey had arrived (yes, I do think it is Audrey, but am still waiting to see what happens), and when the two Toms had appeared on the scene last year.  Dr. Spitzer said this is also a head scratcher for him, but it is still early in the game and our Tom from last year may still be making his way here.  He will check on his laptop to see what he can observe, but he does not have reliable WIFI coverage where he is short of parking in a public library lot.  We left it that I will contact him again in a week with any new details, and he will see if he can figure out what is going on.

Now, last Saturday morning, I observed an osprey pick up one of COM’s backyard, prefab nest sticks, and take it back to the nest on a pole in the water a few houses to the north of us, close to the big tree where our ospreys like to sit.  I have been watching to see where the mysterious stranger goes when it leaves our nest, but had not been able to observe it go anywhere but in one of the nearby trees or disappear from sight.  As I have been sitting here writing, I have been keeping an eye out the window on the nest.  I just, I mean just, got up when I saw the mysterious stranger leave the nest and fly off to the north.  And what did I see?  The stranger landed in the other nest!!!!  I have texted Dr. Spitzer and asked him to give me a call when he can to tell him what I just saw, and see if he has any thoughts on that one!  So our current situation is far from over, stand by once again!  Could our mysterious stranger be Ozzie, Essie, Chester, Breezy or Spitz, one of the chicks from 2013 or 2014?


Audrey picking up a prefab nest stick from the COF’s backyard


I know the situation with the camera and sound has been frustrating to you so early in this season.  Believe me, no one is any more unhappy about the problems we have been having than the Crazy Osprey Family and the Chesapeake Conservancy.  Rest assured that everything is being done to try to make this a wonderful viewing season, so your patience is appreciated.  Let’s all try to keep this a positive experience for everyone, and keep the complaining and negative vibes away from the blog comments.  Quit picking on us, we are doing the best we can!!  If you have any concerns, you can reach out to the Conservancy on their Facebook page, they do not monitor the blog comments on a regular basis but are quite good at responding quickly on social media.

A few comments on some questions that have been posed:

When we have some of our cooler evenings this time of year, our osprey will take cover for the night in protected trees.  So if you don’t see someone on the nest at night, they are comfy cozy out in the woods somewhere near their nest.

Over the years, our experience with early nest building has been that the returning birds will usually rest for a few days before commencing their task.  It’s a long way from South America to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and those birds are tired!

You may have observed some sticks in the nest with brightly colored construction tape tied to them.  We put out sticks in our backyard for the ospreys to use as prefab nest building materials.  COM (Crazy Osprey Man) will sometimes tie tape to a few sticks so we can see our sticks in the nest.  We started with some orange tape this year, followed by some green for St. Patrick’s Day.  The green ones didn’t get picked up until after St. Paddy’s Day, so they are officially Spring sticks.  The new yellow ones were to complete the Easter basket look, and I think we can all agree are quite festive.  As the nest building continues, the marked sticks will get buried in the nest and not be visible until COM puts out some new marked sticks.

Here are some photos I have taken since the last blog was published.  It’s been kind of dreary here, so some of them aren’t great.

Audrey on the electrical box at the end of the dock:


Audrey on the electric box enjoying a quick snack. Her bothersome crow buddies are waiting for the spoils.



Yum, yum! I hope COM doesn’t see the bloody mess I am making on his box.



Please leave me alone, can’t you see I am trying to eat?


Sunrise at the secret location on Thursday, March 24, 2016:


Sunrise-March 24, 2016



Our flag at sunrise-COM has it lighted so Old Glory can fly all night




Audrey on the nest with a good view of the camera set-up. The infrared (IR) light source is mounted just below the camera on the vertical support



Audrey and the mysterious stranger on the nest



Audrey and the mysterious stranger hanging out on a dreary day



The Odd Couple



Audrey landing in the big tree two houses to the north of us



Audrey in the scraggly stick tree next door to the north



Audrey leaving the scraggly stick tree. Someone got too close again, who could that be?


A nice photo of Audrey in the scraggly stick tree:


Pretty Audrey enjoying a sunny day in the scraggly stick tree next door to the north.



Audrey enjoying a fish on the dock one house to the south of us



You really need to leave me alone!


Nest photographs from over the weekend:


Audrey on the nest. COM’s yellow and red markers are visible.



Closer view of Audrey on the nest.


Photographs taken this morning, Monday, March 28, 2016:


Audrey and the mysterious stranger in the scraggly stick tree on a gloomy morning



A wet crow joins the fun

Right after this photograph was taken, Audrey took off back to the nest and the mysterious stranger followed her back like a little puppy dog!

A photo taken at sunset a couple of day ago:



No special reason for this photo, I just thought it was kind of cool


I am waiting to hear back from Dr. Spitzer, and when I do, I will post a quick comment about his feelings on the mysterious stranger spending time at the other nest and attempts at mating.  Another crazy season in the making!

Until next time, we remain-

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

Don’t forget to sign up for the Welcome Back Osprey gathering on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.  The event will take place from 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at Pusser’s Caribbean Grill in Annapolis, Maryland.  Craig Koppie and Dr. Tina Gorrow will be the featured speakers, and will be talking about their new book which focuses on Tom and Audrey’s nest.  For more details and to sign up, visit the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Facebook page or website.

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!











917 thoughts on “A Real Head Scratcher

  1. I can’t sleep so I might as well post! What a beautiful sight with wind blowing on the nest with light showing one of our osprey on back right😍😍their nest looks almost ready to go for eggs and the babies-getting bowl shaped👍💤💤💤for me soon. Too late for a song but show me the way to go home-I’m tired and I want to go to bed etc etc. moe off the cape now ha ha👌👌

  2. No posts about whether T&A were on the nest between 6:15 pm and 11:30 pm when Maureen posted. I wonder where they were? Checked in at 12:30 am and light was on. Osprey still in the same place Maureen mentioned.

  3. Good Morning Peeps!
    Tom just now brought Audrey what looked like half of a fish, she was happy, grabbed it and flew away.
    So that’s a good start for what’s suppose to be a rainy day.
    Hello Moe, you night owl!
    Bella smiles 🙂 and FF flapping, Moe songs, FD FTLOTB and Kathy prayers for everyone….

  4. Tom and Audrey are thinking….we flew all the way back for this cold, rainy and windy weather? Next year we are renting out this place and getting a condo in Key West!

  5. A little nest building going on this morning. Tom bringing in sticks, Audrey rearranging….. 😃
    Everyone have a great day!


  7. Good morning to all😻I believe Audrey and Major Tom have a plan for their lives in 2016 and are telling us to just enjoy the ride or fly👑👑they look like silhouettes standing side by side in the wind blowing and waves rolling below🐛🐛I’m going to treasure each moment I get to see them and what they are doing in their journey of bird life as I have learned to do in my own life recently🐳🐳blah. Blah. Enjoy the day👁👀👁👀

  8. Good morning! Oh my more bad weather could get snow showers Saturday what is going on Mother Nature? I know what happened and I do apologize I started putting my boots away! I stopped really ..so I hope it works. Have fun today flap those wings and 😀

  9. Oh my! Warning just came in my radio storm warning move inside. It included all areas where Audrey and Tom may be! Basically most of MD. Need that hotel room!

  10. Good afternoon all my birdies! The nest, while being empty at this moment, has started to dry out. With the way the rain was coming down all morning it is hard to believe it has stopped, but we’ll take it. Remember that we need the “April showers to bring May flowers”. The nest is looking fabulous. All be well, and I’ll check in later tonight!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  11. Ok, in case some missed it, here is one of the funniest recent clips on the Decorah. Look closely between mom’s legs, chest/brood spot region. There should be two babes and an egg in the cup, look very closely and you might spot legs. Is visible right at the beginning of the clip, and they repeat it at the end. You might have to slow the motion to catch it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkpetlAvKzs
    This weather is so odd! Interesting how every other day is crappy and the next day is sunny. But when is sunny, is windy. Maureen and Bella, how do you find so many emoticons?? I have a Mac and am just getting the smileys. Envy!

    • Neat video and the emotion system to left of space bar after picture microphone which has a smile-on big computer don’t have-enjoy these in case u don’t have👍👑🍾🐛👋🤗🙏🏻🚕🍻🙌👠👢😥🌈💫👏😜🤑🤓😎😛😚😤😈👹🗣👐👏👮💑👣👙👔🦃🐋🐊☘🎄🐚🌤💨🍧🌮🍱🍿🏊🎷etc etc


  12. Good afternoon everyone! Sorry for the late check in KATHY 🙂 thank you for the prayer this morning. 🙏🏻 Amen.
    The nest is looking great but needs more fluff in the center of the bowl, but I’m sure right now nothing is fluffy just a soggy mess. I’m so worried about our couple, but as KATHY always reminds us, he has a plan.
    Have a wonderful day and beak kisses to all! 🐥💕🐥 lets hope for ☀️ and 🐣🐣!!!

  13. OH my gosh! That video was sooooo sweet and funny! Hey mom I’m out here!!! She is so gentle with them. Try real hard not to watch the leftovers flapping in the wind. I did see a stalk of Indian corn to the right, that was interesting. Thanks for posting Ive 🌻

    • Hey all😜 we are on vacation mode few days and just went to c Frankie Valli show with our family in Pennsylvania and he still sings at age 81👍Enjoying the osprey and family and fun times and food👌👌nite friends. Moe off the cape

  14. At 1:43pm the Severna Park Osprey Mom laid egg #2! Very interesting… approx. 3-4 minutes before laying, Mom stood and attempted 4 poop-shoots (PS’s) – (only the first one was successful-and just a little! She was aiming right at the camera!)… Then she sat down and it was fairly obvious that she was in LABOR! After a few pushes – egg #2 was here!
    Meanwhile, there are other osprey in the neighborhood bothering this pair- looks like a male – not sure. Someone just followed Pops in (Pops had a fish). They both watched and squawked a bit, and Pops flew off – with his fish!

    • Thanks for that update! I checked the setting up of the platform and camera and the “narrator” stated that the nest had plastics and strings in it, but no mention of removing these unfortunate items. I did not notice them in the nest. I would have removed them! So, do we think mom is looking for privacy and hence the PS to the lens? HaHa! I hope that male finds a mate and nest and fish his own, is not like this is waterfront property! I wish my second “egg” had required only a couple of pushes! Lucky her! but, unlucky that lunch flew off…Are they naming this couple?

      • LOL! You are absolutely right, Ive! When they installed the cam – and did NOT remove the junk – plastic & string(?!!!), I couldn’t believe I don’t understand that at all! Oh well…
        I think it’s young male(s) bugging the Mom and Pop on the nest – I’ve seen it every day…

  15. Tom looks like he has ants in his pants, he’s all over the place. Maybe he wants a little lovin’ ❤️

  16. Hi. I just got home after a 4 day stay in the hospital. I had a severe case of gastric virus and could not keep food down for 4 days along with a lot of other symptoms. Good to come back to Tom and Audrey on the nest!

    • TY Bella the way I was feeling I would have traded Tom and Audrey places on their nest on the coldest windiest rainiest night. LOL

      • Wow! that bad?! Glad you are on the mend. Sometimes I feel that I wish I could get a blood transfusion from an osprey, the way they seem to have the energy and stamina to withstand so much!

  17. 4:36pm – Audrey’s sitting on a dry nest, and the sun is out. WAIT!! It is pouring (again) in central Maryland – it may be on the way to you!!! Be well all my birdies!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎


  19. Audrey just fly in,so she is ok after the strong storm and the nest have hold,Video with pictures from busy yesterday. Audrey was working on nest,chased intruder away ,defends the nest and Tom fly in for bonding/mating and stay with Audrey long time on nest.

  20. Today was a busy day .Both were working on nest,Sticks were brought in and soft nest material but not enough to fill the nest bowl.Tom stand a long time with Audrey on nest.Mating/bonding was too.:).I miss the fish on morning,i was not on this time but it was reported.
    Last year Audrey laid her first egg 04/12.So i think we have still time.It is to cold for eggs now.Eggs must be have a temp from 100°degr,under the body.

  21. WOW! The weather was wild when last I checked.. Now things seem
    to have calmed down Tom and Audrey are snoozing.. The nest looks
    ready to receive their eggs .. Maybe a little more moss and fluff to
    cradle their babies… Such a peaceful sight.. Thank you all for the
    updates.. ((<:)} .

  22. WHEW! What storms…checked in on T and A but they were gone into a tree. After most of the rain, sun was settings and the brightest rainbow I have seen in years appeared in the east in front of storm clouds. I saw the full arch; then of a sudden a second rainbow appeared above it and I saw the full arch! Normally they are faint but this one wasn’t. I am on a 3rd floor apt. on a hill so I have a good view. In the apartment below and across from me, dwellers came out because they could see the rainbows reflected in the balcony doors! Amazing.
    Heads are all tucked in and nice and calm on nest. One has it wings lowered more I thought would be, but then it is one-footing it so it might be a balance thing. Remember we had very bad storms last year and they made it with little ones too! I don’t think birds get cold like we do in bad weather. They are outside all winter so they must have some type of protection, I at least, am not cognizant of. Must look into that

    Goodnight and sleep well one and all. I saw a double rainbow—one for each bad knee!! 🙂

    • 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈. For all my osprey friends that wanted to c those rainbows🍻🍻. Adios for
      Now and be safe Audrey and Major Tom. We just had 2 deer run in front of our car on way home from concert and we were safe🦄Good luck unicorn present?


  24. Good morning all! At least the sun is out…preparing for snow showers running to the store for bread, milk and TP…lol Next week is still looking chilly ok I’m bringing out all my boots. Have a good day do one fun thing, flap those wings and 😀.

  25. Has anyone noticed if the sparrows have taken up residency “downstairs”? I haven’t seen much activity this year.

  26. Nest looks good this morning! Sun is shining, Audrey nest-orating. Here in western Maryland we had 1+ inches of snow! Argghh. My poor peonies, all budded but now droopy.

  27. Good afternoon all! Cloudy at the nest site right now – no birdy present. Thank you Uta for the video updates. KathyL – the sparrows haven’t had much to work with until this week! I was watching Audrey last week when the nest was still a bit sparse. A sparrow landed on the nest, and must have been at the outer edge of her vision because she turned her head quickly towards it and gave it that “raptor look”. He took off (was definitely was a male) pretty quickly. If they are tenants from the past they are probably used to being ignored by the landlady.
    Cynthia – glad to hear all is well…….
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  28. KathyL, I agree the sparrows don’t have much to work with. They usually move in later when the nest is bigger and there is more food available to them while they “clean” the nest. When Audrey is sitting on the eggs is usually when they move in. Fish scraps and bugs on their menu–yum yum! They could get some good soft material if anyone is able cut their grass. They love those mown grass clumps. (^:)) (:)

  29. I guess I was expecting them earlier, but it makes sense that they wait for the “borrowed” building materials. It’s always fun to watch them sneak into the nest and take what they need.

  30. 2:57pm – Audrey and Tom on the nest. Tom housekeeping – Audrey doing what Aud does best!!! Tom building up the wall closest to the camera. Some soft items brought in also.
    Audrey trying to cat nap while Tom workin workin………..
    Breezy, but dry
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  31. Audrey and Tom on the nest. She is giving him an ear full. He is just tyding up the nest ignoring her. I can see through the nest he needs to put some sticks in the right hand corner. Don’t want to worry something slipping through.

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