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Observations & Images
17 May 2006
Age of nestling(s) in days: 36

Today started out pleasant enough but turned terrifying for both the Ospreys and myself.

The first surprise was the tremendous size difference between the two hatchlings. The largest one, seen at left, seems to be approaching adult size while the little one at right is still very small. Perhaps it was the middle nestling that was lost leaving the first born and, hence, largest along with the last born, the runt, in the nest.

The best views of how the nestlings are progressing is when they come up out of the nest to relieve themselves over the side in the usual head down-bottom up stance.
The male Osprey lands with a fish.
The female retrieves the fish from the male while the nestlings look on with great interest.
As usual these days, the male immediately leaves the nest once the fish has been delivered.
The female Osprey did not seem to be playing favorites with the nestlings but fed them both seemingly equally.
The Ospreys take a break from eating.
The position of the little nestling afforded good views of it being fed while the large nestling was out of view behind the female whenever it was fed.
A roar in the sky caused the female to fly off the nest with the fish in her talons. The nestlings disappeared from view inside the nest.
The cause of the disruption was a plane spraying for mosquitoes.
The plane repeatedly flew around the Osprey nest causing much alarm amongst both the male and female Osprey who flew short loops around the nest making frantic alarm cries and threatening postures which had worked so well in the past against the Bald Eagle, the Red-tailed Hawk, Vultures, and trespassing Ospreys but were to no avail against the single-minded purpose of the mosquito control bureaucracy.

The male flew off into the pines when the plane did not leave. The female kept returning to the nest but would abandon it every time the plane came near. She, too, eventually retreated leaving the nestlings unguarded.

In a happy postscript, when informed of the incident the Mosquito Control District came out and took a GPS reading of the nest site to make sure the plane steers clear of the Ospreys in the future.

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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org