Sunday, March 27, 2011

MARCH 27, 2011 -- LATER

We're going to have to call in CSI Eastern Shore.  This case gets curiouser and curiouser.

Late this afternoon, both ospreys returned. They were in a fine mood, and we were very relieved. They seemed not at all surprised or dismayed at the presence of a dead bird in their nest.

The dangling bones appear to have come from the wings of a very large bird.  One remaining dark feather turns in the breeze.

So we wonder:  Ospreys are notoriously territorial, and as far as we know, they respect each others' boundaries.  We don't think they killed another osprey.  They might have killed a great blue heron.  Herons, for all their fierce appearance, are shy birds.  They don't socialize, especially with ospreys.  There is -- or was -- at least one heron in Anchorage Cove.

We estimate the time of death to be between 9 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. We were here the whole time and we surely would have heard any ruckus. The hulking bird we saw this morning must have been one of the ospreys, its feathers puffed for warmth in the cold air.  The corpse was not in the nest yesterday evening.  By this morning it had appeared.

And -- How did that bird get into the ospreys' nest?  It was too big for the ospreys to have carried. A heron did sit on the nest last fall to look for fish, but that was long after the ospreys had flown south. Since ospreys eat only fresh fish, what reduced the bird, whatever it was, to a carcass?

(I was worried I wasn't going to have anything new to write about this year!)

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