Monday, May 21, 2018

May 20.....

It’s been a crazy few weeks but I will try to share some interesting stories with you about our Ospreys. First of all, I know that many of you are curious about our single dad from last year. He did find a  beautiful mate. I visited the nest many times and without exception, every time he tried to copulate with her, she was unreceptive (would not lift her tail) and the attempt was unsuccessful. I was beginning to think that perhaps she was too young to breed. It was discouraging to think that a whole breeding season might be wasted for him. But he and his new mate are now incubating eggs! Of course the amount of time I was at the nest may have only been several hours in a week, so there surely were many copulation attempts when I was not there. I do wonder if the eggs will be fertile, but once again I am keeping my fingers crossed for this fellow. 
 Me and my team are still working hard on getting the bands read, tho every year there are fewer banded birds, which is rapidly destroying the behavioral research. We still are hoping to find a master bander who wants to get involved and help us remedy this situation. We have documented a lot of movements between nests among the banded birds and I am still sorting out final territories! Most Ospreys have laid eggs now, which makes the band reading more difficult and can take many  hours as we wait for the birds to switch places. And often when they do take their shift on the eggs, the exchange can happen so quickly that all we can determine is IF a bird is banded or not. Females tend to stay closer to the nest during their break time, but the males often disappear. We are learning patience and perseverance! Because the birds do move around a lot in the early part of the breeding season we have to read and re read bands. Usually by the time eggs are laid, the game of musical nests has settled down. Most incubation dates are several weeks later than in past years so it will be interesting to see how this impacts overall productivity. Will we see more Ospreys remaining here until late September or October this year? Will we see fewer chicks on productive nests or more failed nests? We are finding new nests, and have at least six  so far that were not included in last years count. I am very sad to report that two of our oldest males did not return this year. They were 23 and 18 last year. They have been replaced by unbanded birds. I have known both of those birds for so long.....there have been a lot of goodbyes in recent years, the result of doing this research for 25 years. 

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