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.


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



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:



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



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!



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.



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:



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



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



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



Plenty more where that came from…



In between bites



Ready for another chunk of Chicken of the Sea



Thinking about fleeing from Mrs. COM



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



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:



Tom with a rather large fish in the scraggly stick tree



Not paying much attention to me yet



You looking at me?



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



Well, maybe just one more bite



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



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



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


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



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:



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



Roger, our protector and defender of ospreys big and small



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:



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



The second leg is now down for a quick getaway



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



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



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






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:



Tom leaves the nest and heads south



Flying low, cool reflection




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:



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



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



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



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:



Tom on the boat lift, Option #1



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:



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


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



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:



Tom and Audrey together again




“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:



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?



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!



















165 thoughts on “Puzzling Perplexing Possibilities

  1. Thank you Mrs.Com for everything that you do to keep us updated! I Love Love Love the pictures makes me feel like I’m sitting on the dock of the bay😀

  2. Fabulous and Informative!! As usual, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! For all that you do, I love all of the photos, but my favorite of Tom is the “What are you looking at!” Picture, I love our Tom, and I realize nature works in mysterious ways, after ALL that we’ve been through over the years, I certainly have learned that lesson. I only read the chatter on explore every now and then, but I’ve noticed there are folks who like to stir up drama, but most are dedicated Osprey lovers, who just worry about our beloved birds.
    I was wondering about the drone though, does someone in the secret area have one?

    Thank you very much for all that you do, I will be sending a nice donation when the name game begins ❤️❤️❤️❤️😊

  3. Good morning to all the osprey lovers and Audrey and Tom! Many thanks Mrs. Com for another WITTY,WONDERFUL,and WHOLESOME blog of the famous osprey couple. When I first read I was on the iphone and I just hopped on now on the computer I feel like your pictures are so much clearer as noted with the closeness that Audrey and Tom allow you to photograph them makes a big difference-i could almost taste the fish-ha ha! well flap those wings everyone and enjoy watching osprey land. Thanks Mr. COM for fixing Roger and Osprey Girl your second year is almost completed!! adios moe from the cape

  4. Thank YOU, Mrs. COM! Excellent, as usual! We truly appreciate the time and effort you put into the blog (and ‘our’ ospreys) to keep us up to date and informed! THANK YOU! ❤

  5. Hello everybirdie ! Good morning all, and thank you, thank you, thank you Mrs COM for another smashing blog! Your growing “talonts” as a world class photographer do not go unnoticed by your adoring fans!!! The first few pictures in the now blooming scraggly stick tree are outstanding. As far as the option pic, I’m for option #2.
    Audrey is battening down the hatches…… the rain has begun in earnest in Maryland. Stay dry and enjoy all the green around us (except for the coating of pollen which is ever present and …… achooooo! oops, excuse the hay fever reaction!) Tom….please feed our mamma as you have in the past!
    For the love of the osprey! 😎

  6. Many thanks Mrs.Com, very fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy your beautiful photos and wonderful commentary. Thanks so much for continuing the blog. And ….. Happy Mothers Day!! 😊

  7. BRAVO Mrs. COM!!! Once again you’ve outdone yourself. LOVE! The blog and the awesome pics, I like option #2 as well😊❤️. We ALL so very much appreciate everything you do to keep us informed, especially when we’re worried when things are just not right. I love that you are talking to Major Tom and Queen Audrey and that they seem to be responsive, very cool. THANK YOU AGAIN! Oh and the sunrise, exquisite! Love you guys! ❤️
    COF ~~ DTF (crazy osprey fan ~~ dream to fly). 🐥💕🐥🐣🐣🐣


  9. Beautiful posting, and lovely photos………thank you so much from Winston-Salem, NC, a fan for life! Poor Audrey is receiving a pelting of rain on her nest, however, I feel a rainbow coming on at the end of the day! Gratitude, always!

  10. Thank you, I think everyone has said it all so I am just echoing the sentiments and appreciation for you and your family dedication and love for these beautiful creatures and being so willing to take your time and energy to share with all of us. It is kind of amazing that nature just like us humans, have trials tribulations and drama. I think that is part of what draws us all in. I know we all humanize them, but what else can we do?

  11. well nice to see the rain has stopped as that was a crazy day sitting on the three golden eggs! Audrey and Tom are tough and strong!! get ready for date night Queen Audrey!! adios moe from the cape

  12. Good morning from chilly Baltimore. As for the pictures I like… Flying Low Cool Reflection and second #2. Audrey is hunkered down keeping the eggs warm she must be full no yapping! Have a FUN Day!

  13. Good morning Queen Audrey the warmer of the three golden eggs! It is nice to see no rain at this time. I did see rewind on video that Tom spent a good part of the night with his bride! I vote for option 1 photo as Tom is always the protector of Audrey and nest and babies to be. He is the boss like Bruce Springstein!!! Stay warm and flap whatever u can! adios moe from cloudy trying to sunny cape cod

  14. Thank you SO much COF for the as-usual wonderful blog and for all of your efforts for the Osprey family and for all of us. Always informative, always funny too!
    Keeping fingers crossed for 3 healthy babies!

  15. Good Soggy Morning! It has been raining ALL night and it is still coming down. Poor Audrey. I guess we should be thankful that the eggs haven’t hatched yet or we would have three, I hope, soaked babies. Have a good day.

  16. Audrey has been gone for over an hour, she usually comes right back when the crows come flying in. I am praying the crows don’t/have not hurt the chicks 😦

  17. Thank goodness that duck didn’t step on the eggs! I wonder why Aud is staying away so very long? And…. The duck s back!!! OMG! 😦

  18. either she or Tom were back for a brief stay… nest is empty again… I’m so sad….seems every season, the eggs are unattended for a period of time…. wow, there’s a female duck up there now… everything but the parents

  19. If these eggs can survive crows, ducks, bad weather and empty nest, they’ll be SUPER CHICKS when hatched! Time is drawing near for the first hatching, let’s keep our fingers and toes crossed. Positive vibes being sent across the miles………….

  20. positive wibes for Audrey ,Tom and babies to be-just another ride on the rollercoaster of the 2017 season!! crazzy adios moe from no rain yet cape cod with some sun!

  21. It is 5 :10 pm 5/13 and a crow is eating either a baby osprey or sparrow at the nest.  The crow is hopping into the osprey nest and eating the baby.  The sparrows are making a lot of noise.  I think there is a dead baby in the nest as well.  Don’t know where Audrey or Tom are.  So awful!!

    From: Osprey Camera Blog To: pamape111@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 2:47 AM Subject: [New post] Puzzling Perplexing Possibilities #yiv1109166675 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1109166675 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1109166675 a.yiv1109166675primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1109166675 a.yiv1109166675primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1109166675 a.yiv1109166675primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1109166675 a.yiv1109166675primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1109166675 WordPress.com | ospreycam posted: “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” | |

  22. This is the worst by far, something is so very wrong. I wish the experts knew. They say they mate for life, so it was interesting to hear on the COM blog that Mr. Koppie said that Tom may have another nest. And with all the invaders, I am praying that Queen Audrey does not abandon her chicks. Please ALL send positive thoughts to T&A’ nest!

  23. Nest is empty… the three eggs are still there. They appear to be intact, but it’s very hard to tell. This is awful. I wish the biologists could explain why this osprey pair has been routinely abandoning its eggs over the past two seasons. I know this is nature (there must be a reason!)…. but so very upsetting. I wish something could be done. 😦 Very heavy heart. 😦

  24. Mrs. COM, did you see what Uta is reporting, that a crow actually ate one of the chicks and it was alive? 😦 I just can’t tell by how they are situated. Gees, Iv’e been watching, I don’t know how I missed that. No sign of Audrey or Tom for a long while. Oh how very, very sad. These are your babies, I can only imagine how you family feels. I’m just sick 😦

  25. I wish I could zoom in from my laptop. The eggs don’t appear broken? But it’s so hard to see. Maybe they can be salvaged? I don’t know. I’m so heartbroken seeing this. I’d love answers to this continued behavior, though… why two seasons of this?

  26. I’m googling around… I just read an article about a nest in the UK years ago… the male disappeared. As a result, the female stopped incubating the eggs because it needed to get food to survive and didn’t have an osprey partner to help with incubation duty.
    If Tom has been gone for a while… maybe this could be why?
    I think it was last year or the year before, that the nest was abandoned for some time… and an egg was lost.
    If any of this applies to Tom and Audrey, I wonder why they keep coming back to the same nest? Especially if Tom is settling elsewhere.
    I’m hoping these eggs are viable and maybe can be retrieved, incubated and placed in a foster nest upon hatching.
    I dunno. Just sad this is happening again. 😦

    • Lee, If the eggs are still viable and whatever the powers that be will assist to help them survive would be the ultimate outcome. I just wish I understood what happened to Tom. That “Mate for life” just doesn’t make sense when things like this happen. 😦

  27. We noticed the camera lens was zooming in on the eggs this afternoon to get a better look. It appeared from a close shot (from our computer screen standpoint) the eggs were intact, except for a slight possibility the far right egg having a hairline crack(?) All three eggs are beautifully marbled and it’s extremely hard to tell. What we do know for sure is time will tell. Audrey is currently off the nest (7:07 p.m.), and we’re hoping she (and Tom) return for the night.

  28. I watched in horror as a crow punched an egg and ate the contents. It then went to another egg and pierced it only. Made me sick to see it.

  29. Initially Audrey left at about 2:00 & crow arrived within a minute. During the crows initial 17 minuets it ate some of the contents of one of Audrey’s eggs & took one baby from the sparrows next and ate some of it before leaving. Crow made several short return trips with numerous attempts to break into another egg & attack the sparrows nest. Poor Audrey looked quite distraught when she came back. I’d love to put a bounty on that murderous crow.

  30. I am so saddened as all the faithful viewers must be. Here comes a very large CYBER hug for Mrs. COM, Mr. COM, and crazy osprey girl and Mr. Roger for the happenings of today. I am so glad of your blog this week. I am at lost for words! adios moe from the cape Hope Audrey and Tom are ok

  31. To Mrs. COM and the entire COF, I can only imagine how you feel about the devastation to our beautiful little family. We are all in pain, but Audrey and Tom are your babies, I’m so sorry. I do hope you are able to see something we cannot and get some understanding as to what happened this season. 💔💔💔

  32. I am still sitting here in a state of disbelief. Like the rest of you, I am heartbroken. My sympathies to the COF.

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