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Observations & Images
4 April 2006
31st day of incubating

A gray but warm overcast day finds the female Osprey returning to the nest.
The male Osprey was reluctant to give up his position incubating the eggs. The female kept up a long monologue directed at him then, when he refused to move, she actually pushed him out of the nest and took his place.
After a short time the male Osprey returned with a large fish. He settled in the pines near the nest. The female did not seem too interested and was fairly quiet.
Then, my attention was diverted in looking for a Pileated Woodpecker nest, see THE NEIGHBORS below, which made me miss the beginning of some very dramatic action. A series of terrific cries directed my gaze skyward where the female Osprey, seen here, was off the nest passing by me full of hostility. Flying next to her was the male Osprey.
The object of their rage was a Bald Eagle who must have tried going after the male Osprey's fish and, subsequently, incurred the female's anger by trespassing near the nest.
It is common for Bald Eagles to allow an Osprey to do all the work catching a fish then move in and bully the Osprey into dropping its catch which the Eagle will recover to eat.
The Eagle, in this case, was not successful on this run, but, also, the male Osprey was no longer carrying its catch which must have been dropped somewhere on the ground near the nest. A terrible loss for the Ospreys to miss out on such a large, fresh fish.
Here an Osprey, seen at left, pursues the Eagle. Note the terrific difference in size between the two birds. The female Osprey broke off her pursuit after a short distance and returned immediately to the nest. The male Osprey followed a little further before returning. The Eagle disappeared from sight, hopefully properly chastised.
After the male broke off his pursuit he returned to the nest where the female Osprey was still so highly agitated that she would not allow him to land. Note her aggressive posture.
The male Osprey spent the next half hour flying in circles around the nest. The female returned to incubating. Eventually he was allowed to land in the nest where he switched places with the female who flew off into the pines.


The Soft Shell Turtle comes to the surface for air.
A lone Otter spent some time in the water near the nest.
The object of my search to discover the Pileated Woodpecker nest cavity was successful even though it meant missing the beginning of the Eagle-Osprey fracas. One Pileated Woodpecker was actively working on enlarging this nest cavity in a palm tree for most of the afternoon.
Note how cleanly worked the opening is. The Woodpeckers moved freely in and out of the cavity often disappearing from view inside. These are possibly the same two that were observed mating in the pines yesterday.
The Pileated Woodpeckers frequently fly off around in a loop then return to the nest cavity. Behavior very similar to the Ospreys as they patrol the area around their home.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
www.lunarcabin.com - - - - www.ospreywatch.org