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Date:  July 16, 2014

Location  An Osprey Story

Where:  Salem Audubon Reserve


 This journal entry is about a morning of observing Osprey at the Salem Audubon Nature Reserve. John West and I started at 8:00 AM to make an effort to find out what was going on at the nesting site. We could tell in pretty short order that there was at least an adult on the nest, then we were suddenly surprised when a male swooped in with a fish and landed in a tree across the street.

We were full of anticipation of his flying to the nest immediately with his catch. He seemed to take his time, and after about fifteen minutes began to feed on the fish's head. John has seen this behavior before, and I began to theorize that perhaps this was a ritual, and the prize of the head went first to the hunter.

The tearing and ripping of the fish head went on for some time. On the nest the mother seemed to wait patiently, or perhaps stoic is a better word, but the young one began to complain quiet vocally.

John and I stood around with our cameras ready, waiting for the moment. An hour went by then suddenly the moment came and the male took flight with the fish, but not directly to the nest, but what we assumed would be a circular approach.

There next was a good deal of screeching and we were excepting the male would be coming in with the fish. But no, there was no fish, and in fact it was not the male but another female!
The mother complains viciously, saying either "how dare you" to the marauding female, or perhaps, "where is that husband of mine with the fish for god's sake."
The final surprise was that there was yet a second chick! Look closely under the mother's head for the second chick. We left after three hours with lots of questions unanswered. So what happened to the male with the fish? What about the mother and two babies? We will be returning to check their progress.