This is an important and disturbing article...please read it. It has far reaching implications, outside of Yellowstone ....and is why the ongoing accurate monitoring of our population of Ospreys, and many other long term wildlife studies, may be critically important down the road. Some small acts can throw everything out of balance. Hope the link works...
Saturday, July 7, 2018
We’ll I have had an interesting few days. Yesterday morning I recieved a phone call shortly after 6 a.m. Of course that is always a bit unsettling. It was from an employee at a gravel pit where there is an osprey nest. They had found an osprey up in some of their equipment and they got him out but he would not fly away. So they put him in a box and called me. I drove the long trip thru rush hour traffic and picked him up. Sadly, he was a male from a nest with three chicks in it. He seemed fiesty tho. I took him to The Raptor Center. They were very busy so could not examine him while I waited. I worried constantly about him thru the course of the day and evening of course, and emailed requesting an update. Finally today they contacted me and said they found no injuries and he flew well when they tested him so he was ready for release. He must have just been stunned by his predicament yesterday. I went to get him and return him to his nest. When I opened the box, he stepped out, turned around and stared at me. I stared at him. He was less than two feet away from me, and we had a moment! He did not fly off tho, so I backed up, took the box back to the car, grabbed my iPad to take a photo, walked around the car and he was still just standing there! I was starting to worry a bit....but when I approached him again he finally took off. He flew perfectly, tho not towards the nest, but in the opposite direction! He immediately began chasing another osprey. I counted the chicks in the nest and all three had survived tho they had empty crops. The female began chirping and food begging ...this is called mixed messages! But it was so interesting that this male was more concerned about defending the territory than feeding the chicks. I suppose in those 24 plus hours, a single female with chicks and no male defending the nest, must have looked like a territory that might be up for grabs. This could attract males that are looking for a territory. Sometimes, this is how a young male can establish himself. But our male decided that dispatching that intruding male was the first order of business. He was quite aggressive in defending his nest, dive bombing and footing the interloper. He did finally go to the nest and the female literally got in his face about her desire for some fish! He remained focused on the other male, and he finally went to a nearby perch where he could watch over everything. The female finally left, perhaps to get some food, since he was watching over the kingdom. I love watching their behaviors, especially in unusual circumstances. I remain so curious about their reactions, and how they cope with difficulties. At any rate, I am relieved that our guy is back with his family and all is well on that nest.
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Happy Fourth of July to you all......it’s not one of my favorite holidays, nor is it enjoyed by the Ospreys. We have several nests on ballfields lights, where fireworks are shot off every year. We have often lost chicks on this night. I presume they jump out of the nest too soon, out of fear, and are predated on the ground. So few people think about how these activities affect wildlife. I checked many nests today and had to wait out some heavy rain several times. The reward was counting many chicks. At one nest, as the rain slowed down I watched a female standing up with her wings out, providing shelter for her young.....and a cute head popped out from under Moms breast, all snuggled up beneath.....so sweet. She almost seemed to be hugging her little guy. Another chick snuggled up on her side...but that guy who got the prime spot for weathering the storm, was so cute, looking up at mom....don’t squish me!
Now this is the way to spend a holiday like this....peaceful, endearing. I also stumbled upon a new nest being built....I am not sure if it’s a frustration nest or a totally new nest, since the male was unbanded, but it was not far from a failed nest. Hmmmmm. Tomorrow I will try to visit some nests where fireworks went off, to count heads again and see if they all survived the chaos.