The Right Place at The Right Time
A week ago, Ron and I took college friends to see these fascinating raptors. Inside the Welcome Center, we watched the male and female tend their three eggs. The female, larger than the male, spread her wings and flew away. The male checked the eggs and rearranged the nesting material. He looked like a typical proud Daddy.
As we watched, the middle egg cracked and a chick struggled out of the shell. Excited, I snapped pictures. Then the egg on the left cracked and another chick emerged. By now I was almost jumping up and down. I could have watched all day.
Even though they didn’t turn out very well, I took pictures. Lots of them. Fifty-one, to be exact. Technical people would know why the photos weren’t great. All I know is that there were lots of wavy lines across the screen. I hope you can get an idea of what transpired.
Ten minutes later, Momma returned with a stick approximately 24 inches long. She put the stick on the edge of the nest, didn’t like it there, and tried tucking it in a couple more spots. We laughed. She was “rearranging the furniture.” Daddy refused to move away from the newly-hatched chicks. We laughed again as Momma turned and whopped him in the head with the stick. Was it accidental or on purpose? Anyhow, Daddy moved. Momma put the stick down, examined her babies, and tore meat off a dead fish stashed in the nest. After eating, she regurgitated and fed them. From what I’ve read, the parents will feed chicks for three months.
When the babies were eight days old, I checked on their progress. Larger now, they were in shadows, not easily visible. I took pictures anyhow. I’ll return weekly to see how they're doing. And I'll continue taking pictures. I feel close to this osprey family. I pray none of them will get tangled on fishing line or any of the trash some humans discard with no thought to what their actions cost our critters.
And I give thanks for being in the right place at the right time. And with my camera, too!