Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MAY 25, 2010

A pair of great blue herons glide by, but the ospreys are too busy to notice.
Mama and Papa stand on the edge of the nest. Mama takes bites of something -- a fish, we hope -- and Papa watches solicitously. Then Mama dips her head into the nest. We think that she is feeding her chicks from the fish she's just pureed in her built-in food processor.
The babies are too small for us to see yet. We'll have to wait a week or so before fuzzy gray heads appear. But we're sure they are there: Mama is spreading her wings over the nest, shading her babies from the strong afternoon sun.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MAY 23, 2010

We think the baby ospreys are here. Mama and Papa perch on the edge of the nest. They make little darting motions with their heads, as if they're feeding or or grooming their chicks.
Mama, who's been nestbound for some weeks, spreads her great black-and-white wings. She takes off and tries a quick splashdown before circling the nesting platform and landing in a nearby tree. When she's confident that Papa has the situation under control, she flaps away downriver. At last! Girls' Night Out!
Papa babysits. He looks into the nest, then up into the sky, then back into the nest. When night falls, Papa is still keeping his solitary vigil.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MAY 19, 2010

Mama is still doing nest time 24/7, and appears to be growing tired of it. Her osprey expression -- glaring yellow eyes, down-curved beak -- is even more grim than usual. She is too dispirited even to offer a "peep peep" when we appear in the yard. You mothers out there will know how she feels.

To humor her, Papa brings a fish. With great flourish, he makes several passes over the nest before he lands and presents it to her. Mama downs the fish, leaving a few bites for Papa. He flies away, and she arranges her feathers and resigns herself to egg-sitting.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MAY 5, 2010

Papa proudly comes home with a fish for Mama. It's the least he can do, since she gets off the eggs only to stretch her wings.
As in most cultures, the best provider is considered to be the most desirable. Last year, when the female was still being coy about her intentions, the male would fly by with a big fish in his talons. That display of prowess, resourcefulness and skill helped the female to make up her mind.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

MAY 1, 2010

Mama is still huddled down in the nest most of the time, but once in a while, she and Papa sit on the edge of the nest and peer in. An animated osprey conversation follows.