Puzzling Perplexing Possibilities

Good morning from the finally sunny Eastern Shore of Maryland!  After days of rain, clouds and ferocious winds, we have finally had a couple of beautiful sunny days.  Unfortunately, rain is forecast to start later today and continue through Saturday, with some heavy rains expected.  Birds and humans will start to grow moss between their toes!  But Sunday is supposed to be beautiful, how fitting for a Happy Mother’s Day for all of the mothers out there, human and avian!

Speaking of the weather, I am sure you have noticed that that wind speed indicated on the camera view doesn’t seem to correlate with what you are observing at the nest.  You would be correct, the actual wind speed is frequently way higher than the posted wind speed. COM is working with the explore folks to identify a weather station in the area that more accurately reflects the conditions here at the nest.

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Squawking Audrey on a dreary day in the scraggly stick tree with a stormy sky (reminiscent of Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the candlestick) in the background

 

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The scraggly stick tree is in bloom, adding to the light green patina of pollen enveloping anything and everything in the neighborhood, inside and out

 

While we are on the subject of weather, here is Audrey on the nest hoping the rain will stay away:

 

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Gathering clouds over the secret location. This is a good view of the infrared light source directly under the fancy camera cover (K-Mart trash can). Audrey is hunkered down waiting for a meal and incubating her eggs

 

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Tom and Audrey on another rainy day. Check out the downstairs neighbor returning home on the right!

 

There have been three major issues looming over us since the last blog.  I will attempt to address them all.  Here goes……………

First and foremost, I know you are all waiting with bated breath for the hatching of our first egg.  The range of hatching osprey eggs is 35-42 days after they are laid.  At our nest, the typical range has usually been 39-41 days.  I know you can all do the arithmetic, but as a quick guide, here is what we are looking at:

Egg #1-laid April 12, range of possible hatch dates May 17-24

Egg #2-laid April 15, range of possible hatch dates May 20-27

Egg #3-laid April 18, range of possible hatch dates May 23-30

So there you go, we are getting close!

 

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Audrey looks like she might be counting the days to her first little bundle of joy

 

Issue #2-Oh, Tom, Tom, Tom!  Where the heck have you been, buddy?  It did not go unnoticed that Tom’s typical behavior seemed to have altered over the last week or so. His usual moniker, Calico Tom the Fishing Fool, seemed to need a revision.  Although we have the advantage here at the secret location of seeing what goes on around the nest as well as in the nest, we were also puzzled and perplexed.  Tom’s presence was sparse, and he wasn’t seen at his typical hang-outs. When he did show up at the nest, it was usually without a fish.  This unusual behavior also caused Audrey to catch her own fish, leading to the crow incident.  For those of you who missed it, Audrey’s tummy must have been growling, and she decided to take matters into her own talons and go fishing.  The eggs were left unattended, and an obnoxious crow decided he felt like an egg snack.  The crow started pecking at one of the eggs, causing Audrey to come barreling back to the nest to protect her potential offspring.  The fate of the injured egg is unknown at this time, so we will see what happens during the hatch window.  The pesky crows are everywhere and are quite bothersome.  In addition to bothering the ospreys, they have taken baby birds out of our bluebird house.  COM has modified our two bluebird houses with homemade devices to deter the crows from their nefarious sojourns.

 

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Tom on the left, crow on the right waiting for the spoils

 

There was also some speculation that perhaps we had another osprey visiting the nest that was not Tom.  One of the reasons it was thought that was a possibility was the seeming lack of the buff color on the back of this osprey’s head.  We were also perplexed at that observation, having noticed the same thing.  What was puzzling was how Audrey treated this possible third player, she did not seem bothered at all to have the bird there.  It looked like Tom, but the lack of the obvious darker patch was puzzling and perplexing. I saw Tom a couple of times eating big fish in his usual places, but he wasn’t bringing any to Audrey.  Something just seemed off.  I knew what I was observing, but I did not know the answers to the questions being posed.  As in the past, when something is troubling at the nest, the Crazy Osprey Family calls in the experts and a call was placed to our favorite raptor biologist, Craig Koppie.  I explained my observations, and my puzzlement. Here is a synopsis of my lengthy chat with him:

Anything is possible in Nature.

That about covers it all.  The bird in question could have been a returning juvenile from previous years at our nest, but probably not from the past two years since those three birds were banded.  It could have been Tom, and we just couldn’t see the buff due to the weather.  His fishing could have been off due to the turbid water caused by all the wind and rain.  He could have been taking refuge from the elements, etc., etc.

Anything is possible in Nature.

Thank you, Craig, for being there when we need you!  You are always the voice of reason, and we are so glad to have you as a mentor and friend.

 

Issue #3 has been the various camera malfunctions.  Believe me, no one likes having these camera issues.  We are all doing the best we can to correct problems when they happen.  We are in a transition year with the switch over to being one of the explore cameras, and everyone is learning.  Bear with us, we are all trying very hard to make this a wonderful experience for everyone.  Think positive, not negative and we will all get through these learning curves together!  Thanks so much for your patience and understanding.

 

I have taken a bunch of photos the past two weeks, and will finish the blog with some of them.

 

Here is a series of photos of Calico Tom the Fishing Fool, taken on May 6:

 

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A delightful meal in the scraggly stick tree one house to the north of us on a yucky day

 

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I would admonish my daughter if she took a bite this big

 

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I guess this piece was a little slippery (rain or blood or general muck), he dropped it!

 

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Plenty more where that came from…

 

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In between bites

 

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Ready for another chunk of Chicken of the Sea

 

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Thinking about fleeing from Mrs. COM

 

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Nah, think I will stay and chow down a little more

 

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Okay now, Mrs. COM, you are coming into my comfort zone

 

Tom and Audrey have allowed me to come much closer to them this year than in years past.  Dr. Spitzer told us to talk to them, which we have been doing.  I really do think it is working, they seem much less bothered when we are around them this year.

I had another close encounter with Tom, but this time, he decided to move on when I got close:

 

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Tom with a rather large fish in the scraggly stick tree

 

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Not paying much attention to me yet

 

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You looking at me?

 

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Getting closer. He is starting to realize I am not going away

 

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Well, maybe just one more bite

 

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Okay, I have had enough of you, Mrs. COM

 

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Tom and his fish relocate to the big tree two houses to the north of us

 

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She’ll never find me way up here in this big tree!

 

We have other visitors in the neighborhood besides those that fly:

 

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A furry friend exploring near our big step ladder. Don’t let the eagle see you down there, you tasty morsel

 

Speaking of eagles, over the last two weeks, we have seen Tom and Audrey chase off an eagle that has been in the area a couple of times.  There is definitely an eagle pair living near by, we think across the street in the woods.  They are probably busy with their own young ones, as we haven’t seen them as frequently as we did over the fall and winter.

Some of you have been wondering about our dear scareowl, Roger.  He is back on duty, still kind of scraggly and dirty from his ordeal in the storm, but sporting a new chapeau:

 

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Roger on duty at the end of the dock. Stay away, you murderous owls!

 

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Roger, our protector and defender of ospreys big and small

 

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How do you like my new hat? Spiffy, don’t you think?

 

As Audrey has been spending the vast majority of her time incubating, we don’t see her out and about so much these days.  She hasn’t been getting equal time in the photograph department.  I spotted her on the poop dock a couple of days ago, and wandered next door to memorialize her visit:

 

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Does it look like something is missing? Yes there is, a leg!

 

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The second leg is now down for a quick getaway

 

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I think she likes me, hasn’t flown away yet, but I am further away than it looks in this photo

 

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Audrey relocates to the top of the piling.  Look ma, I can balance on the other leg, too!

 

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Audrey figures Tom has had enough time at the nest, and decides this is good time to vacate the piling

 

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Incoming!

 

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Everyone’s home for a minute

 

Tom has been relieved of egg duty (although he really likes egg duty), and decides to visit our neighbor’s new boat two houses to the south of us:

 

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Tom leaves the nest and heads south

 

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Flying low, cool reflection

 

 

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Almost there

 

Here is the new boat, without poop producing ospreys.  The swim ladder where Tom and Audrey like to perch is visible to the left of the boat and the two dock chairs.  The poop dock is at the end of the dock in the foreground:

 

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Poop dock in the foreground and sparkling new boat one dock down to the south

 

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Poop dock and one of our COM modified bluebird houses next to my garden. Our neighbor’s new boat and the swim ladder are visible to the right

 

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Tom at his destination, demonstrating why he is not welcome on top of my neighbor’s new boat

 

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Caught! Please let me stay!

 

Tom then flew to COM’s boat lift on our dock.  Unfortunately, he didn’t choose the best place for a photo, but boys will be boys.  The two two photos are similar, but I couldn’t decide which one I like best, so decided to use both of them:

 

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Tom on the boat lift, Option #1

 

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Tom on the boat lift, Option #2

 

So which is your favorite?

Tom is not feeling like humoring Mrs. COM, and continues to the north, where he makes a stop on our neighbor’s dock two houses to the north of us:

 

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Tom has continued on to the north, trying to get some alone time

 

This swim ladder is one of Tom’s favorite haunts:

 

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Tom on the swim ladder on the dock with the new boat two houses to the south of us. Both Tom and Audrey like this perch

 

It’s so good to see Tom back at the nest with more regularity.  He likes to stand on the nest support:

 

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Tom and Audrey together again

 

 

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“Reunited and it feels so good” Audrey is singing to Tom (somehow I don’t think these are the lyrics she is singing)

 

This will give you some perspective of the nest pole in the water:

 

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Can you see another pile of COM’s prefab sticks? Look closely

 

Well, it is 2:44 a.m. on Thursday morning, and I have to leave for work at 6:45, so I think it is time for a wrap.  Tom and Audrey may be parents again when next we meet. I will leave you with a glorious sunrise here at the secret location.  Someone has been getting up early, guess who?

 

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Sunrise at the secret location. Thank you, Mother Nature!

 

Until next time, we remain-

Crazy Osprey Man (COM), Mrs. Crazy Osprey Man (Mrs. COM) 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://chesapeakeconservancy.org today.  Thanks very much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

164 thoughts on “Puzzling Perplexing Possibilities

  1. Ola to all the osprey lovers!! Another beautiful day for the famous Kent Island Osprey Couple-Queen Audrey and Major Tom!! I see Audrey on the nest now with the sunshine and slight waves below. I just did rewind and saw Tom’s visit bringing in new featherbed material for their nest bowl. May their golden egg be kept warm as it is growing as all of us viewers are hoping for with a osprey hatch soon!! enjoy the day! adios moe from sunny cape cod which will be rainy this week!!

  2. Good Morning: News for anyone who watches the Severna Park nest. One of the eggs hatched at 4:45 yesterday afternoon. I haven’t gotten a glimpse of it yet. Hope you all have a good day. Fingers crossed for Audrey. Moe, I’m so glad to read your upbeat messages–some of the others are all doom and gloom.

    • Oh Nancy I watched that nest last year but for some reason I can’t get on work computer. I’m on my way now! 🐥♥️

  3. 11:27 a.m. Sunday morning – Tom just flew in with a fish for Audrey, she grabbed it and flew off (breakfast for one, please). Tom attended to his fatherly duty and is incubating the Golden Egg on the nest until Audrey returns. Nice!

  4. The past 4 hrs (rewind & scan) have been a whirlwind of activity. At about 1:40 a big stick delivery, about 2:15 grass delivery, 4:00 whole medium fish delivery with a tug of war for Audrey to get it out of Tom’s talon before she left with the fish. Within about 5 mins Audrey was back w/o fish (I wonder if she dropped it) & Tom left.

  5. Good evening once again! I have been watching the nest off and on today and now with the rewind did see Tom bring in huge stick or sticks=bonk Audrey and then both moved sticks around and the green ribbon in back ended up caught in moss stuff and was moved around by Tom I believe to the front of the nest. At this time nest is bigger than this morning and waters below are ready for anyone that wants to be a part of SURF city here we come. We just did osprey ride around next town and all nests have one in sitting on eggs hopefully. Well osprey lovers sleep well and dream of a golden egg hatch soon!!! We have to have faith.. adios moe from the cape

  6. incomplete thought above as it will happen when I multitask-trying to type,ice my new shoulder,think,eat a sandwich,and drink milk and watch the camera of Audrey and Tom! I have seen that Tom is the large fishing fool today and Audrey has been given some food breaks and leg stretches. Seems to have rain off and on at the nest! Well here’s to a easy afternoon of golden egg incubation! adios for now moe from the cape

  7. Haven’t been able to watch much today each time poor Audrey was hunkered down. Hopefully tomorrow will be a much better weather day. Moe I did see the green ribbon!! Rearranging the furniture again.

  8. Hello all! I’ve been reading but not commenting because this is all so sad. Like the rest of you I still keep hoping that we’ll still have a baby this week. In the meantime, the three Alabama ospreys are thriving and getting so big. At last check I didn’t see chicks at the Montana or Maine nests and I always forget to check Rutland, England until it’s too late to see much except Momma on the nest.

    Fingers crossed.

  9. Well today seemed to be a full stomach day for Audrey with Tom the Fishing Fool providing her with almost an iv drip of fish food! So on to another night of Audrey resting on the golden egg and hoping for a peaceful rest with hopefully a overnight with Tom! adios moe from the cape

  10. Another “Tom” at 850am? No orange on the back of his head unless Calico Tom is changing with age. If this is a new mate we’ll see how attentive he is. Hoping for the best….at least for next season.

    • Uta posted on explore the picture and definitely another osprey fish thief! Well at least no rain at this time! Seems like more greenery in the nest bowl. Well enjoy the afternoon and watching the ospreyland! adios moe from the cape

  11. Good morning everybirdie! Have been away a few days, and Suzie – thank you so much for the updates on deliveries and goings on. The nest seems to be a little more built up than last week. Fingers crossed that our last little egg has survived the nefarious crows. Audrey is as dedicated as always!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  12. I am hoping for an update soon from Mrs. COM. It would be nice to get her perspective on what has been happening in the nest and with Tom since the raid by the crows. If the egg does not hatch, and we all hope it does, what are the chances of fostering chicks, like what happened 2 years ago? Considering how Tom has been a bit erratic in his attention to Audrey, would that effect the chances of fostering chicks? I am just concerned that there would not be enough food delivered to the nest by Tom, forcing Audrey to abandon the nest again in search of fish. I am trying to remain positive, but have concerns.
    I have been watching the Baltimore falcons lose their down and wingersizing when they are in camera range. Mama seems to be bringing food and letting the chicks feed themselves. Won’t be long now until fledge time.
    I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all of the veterans and active military for your service to our country.

  13. Hello everyone who is watching ospreyland with Audrey and Tom and golden egg! Have watched a few times today and recently a new pink ribbon on the nest and some other nest material! Seems no rain which is a plus. And yes everyone is hoping for a hatch. I also am having fun watching the falcons who definitely are losing that white fluff stuff and look more like adults every day! Well hope Tom continues to feed his lady Audrey and care for her as incubation is happening. adios moe from the cape

  14. Rain is on the way, I’m afraid. We just got slammed in NC and it’s moving quickly through VA. Hold on to your feathers, Audrey, looks like a rough one!

  15. Well devoted Tom remains on the front right post-he will have the cleanest talons in the Chesapeake Bay as I watch him clean and clean-after all the fish he got today I can see why he keeps on cleaning. Audrey seems to be relaxed and asleep on the golden egg. It seems windy still. At this time-I feel there are so many rooting for their golden egg to hatch with a new Kent Island Osprey for the 2017 season!! adios moe from the cape

  16. From rewind & scan last 4 hrs: approx. 4:00 headless fish delivery by Tom, Audrey got back to take over about 20 mins. later. The green ribbon is under the egg (gift-wrapping?).

  17. Well I see roller coaster weather today at Audrey and Tom’s nest! Rain,sun,heavier rain and at present time Audrey seems pretty wet but is guarding the golden egg and probably waiting for Tom to keep her company. At least the sun popped out on the nest! Couple more days for second egg laid on 15th according to Mrs. COM-date would be between 20-27 to see what is to be! well I will post later if I see Tom. Rain all day on cape cod. adios moe

  18. Good morning! Changing of the guard on the nest a few minutes ago. All looks very calm on the nest this morning although I think more rain is expected today. We had a terrible storm last night with high winds and hail. Many thanks to COF and CC for the wonderful opportunity to view our beautiful nature in action each day, close up & personal….
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 🇺🇸

  19. And a great morning to all as I wake up to see Queen Audrey incubating her and Major Tom’s golden egg on their beautiful sculptured nest and nest bowl with calm waters below🤗 Major Tom is probably near by scouting out his fishing spot for the day to come👀👀What more would any one want on this morning? Well today might bring more ups and downs on the roller coaster of Audrey and Tom’s and egg to be this 2017 season🎢🎢 Like each of us in our daily lives, we never know what is to be🌈🌈 Once again I am blessed to be up close and personal to Audrey and Tom’s nest and I thank the COF especially and Chesapeake Conservancy! Have a great day everyone 🌈💋😍🤗👀👍❤️😜😘😎and think warmer weather🙌🤓😊. Adios moe from rainy Cape Cod☔️💦

  20. What a treat! l I just got a glimpse of the “golden egg.” Sweet Audrey is dong her best to get that egg hatched. If she only knew of all the people rooting for her. So far today no rain, but the cloud formations keep changing. One minute the sun is out and the next it looks like it’s going to pour. We’ve had enough rain, thank you. Hope you all have a great weekend.

  21. Good evening! I was just checking some of Uta’s pictures from today and one around 6pm she showed video of manta on the bay=I had no idea what that was-a fish-you could see it floating by in back of nest!! Well I hope Tom has Friday date night! Everyone sleep well and think golden egg hatch!! adios moe from the rainy cape still!

  22. Hello pretty Audrey sitting on your golden egg in your gorgeous nest at this time with the sun peeking through! I saw pictures that Tom delivered you some breakfast and you had a little stretching break! So at this time life is good on the nest! May everyone flap those wings if you can and enjoy the day watching the famous osprey couple! waiting for the miracle golden egg to hatch as so many others!! adios moe from cape cod where the rain has stopped and sun is peeking out!!

  23. Rewind & scan the 1st 2 of the last 4 hrs: @ approx. 11:10 A&T at the nest & intruder flew down to visible on the cam, Tom took off after him: @approx. 11:25 Tom returned to nest with grass & intruder came back again & Tom chased off again…..

  24. and the nest bowl is so pretty and all of the top has new nest material-I saw on explore about the reason for so many intruders. Still hoping for the golden egg hatch!! what a gorgeous day at the nest adios moe from sunny cape cod

  25. The new nesting material is making me hope for an orphaned chick…if there even is one out there and if Tom is bringing in enough fish.

  26. Good morning and I can tell who I am watching on the nest now with the yapping! You do whatever you have to Audrey-I almost think she is sitting up a little straighter in the nest bowl and hopefully the golden egg will hatch!! I saw a little bit ago a family of ducks or whatever swim from right to left behind the nest! When I went to sleep last night did not see Tom but he was there this am according to explore. Well blast that sun out, keep the seas calm,keep Tom the fishing fool rolling in the fish,keep the golden egg incubating,and get that egg ready to crack with a miracle osprey munchin!! well enjoy the day everyone!! adios moe from sunny cape tourist land this weekend

  27. I wish I could climb up into that Severna Park nest and snatch chick #3 and put it in Audrey’s nest. I can’t stand to watch it–it is so much smaller than Chicks # 1 and 2 and they just looked to me like they were trying to smother the little one. It was feeding time and they actually knocked little one over to get it out of the way. Mom and Dad were both in the nest and didn’t even try to intervene.

  28. Sad, sad, sad. It appears the Golden Egg is sitting on the edge of the nest with a hole in it. No more eggs to incubate, Audrey gave it the old college try. Tom is sitting on the edge pruning himself. Would it be possible for an adoption to take place for an unwanted chick? It’s been a strange Spring to say the least.

  29. Audrey is sitting on the egg-less nest this morning, maybe she knows something we don’t? She’s as beautiful as ever………

  30. Can’t seem to find any info that will tell me if osprey can have more then one brood a season. I’ve seen them mate, but can viable eggs come from that encounter??? Love watching them so thank you for the opportunity.
    Carolyn, from northern CA.

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