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Observations & Images
27 May 2006
Post-Nesting: Lamentation

At dawn the female Osprey, seen at lower left, and the male Osprey, at upper right, were perched in a pine tree near the nest. The female was uttering continuous short sharp staccato calls like she would make while waiting for her mate whenever he was absent for long periods. One can only imagine she is now calling for her nestlings who can never respond to her again.
The female Osprey flew to the nest.
She hovered, examining the nest closely, but then flew off without landing.
The female made a short loop then headed back to the nest.
She came up alongside the nest again and hovered but, once again, flew off without landing.
Once again, she looped around back to the nest.
She hovered again over the nest for another look.
This time she landed on a nearby perch.
She spent quite some time staring down into the nest while continuing her calls which elicited no response.
Only the Ospreys know the secrets the nest holds in silence.


The tragedy of the Ospreys is juxtaposed with the frantic activity at the Pileated Woodpecker nest where the seemingly two healthy nestlings practically burst from the cavity whenever a parent bird shows up.
The parent bird, the male in this case, always pause in preparation for regurgitating food from its crop.
The male Pileated Woodpecker feeds one of the young.
After feeding the nestlings, the parent bird will disappear with the nestlings into the cavity and eventually reappear, in this image the female is seen, carrying a "fecal sac." According to The Birdwatcher's Companion: An Encyclopedic Handbook of North American Bird Life by Christopher Leahy, the fecal sac is "A gelatinous pouch into which the feces of nestling (mainly passerine) birds are excreted. The adaptation would seem to be an aid to nest sanitation. Adult birds remove the sacs....and usually eat them or carry them away from the nest...."
The female Pileated Woodpecker carries off a fecal sac. In Woodpeckers of North America by Frances Backhouse, she writes that the parent birds "....carry away the fecal sacs and dispose of them at some distance from the nest tree, where they will not draw attention to the nest....Some species seem to drop the sacs randomly, while others tend to deposit them regularly in one place...After the sac has been dropped, sometimes with a few shakes of the head to free it, the woodpecker may wipe its bill on a branch."
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
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