This year, I've been watching some Ospreys nesting on a pylon, by the bridge going to St. George Island. The nests are made out of sticks and usually built out in open spaces. But they're built strong enough to survived the likes of storms like Debbie, and Isaac, that came through here a couple years ago.
|They're the only large raptor with an unmarked white belly|
|The flowers are a nice touch!|
The number of Osprey crashed, starting in the 1950's. For example, from the 1950's until the 1970's, between New York City and Boston, 90% of the breeding pairs, disappeared. But when many pesticides were banned, mainly DDT, they made a tremendous comeback. And although they are still rare in some places, Ospreys exist on every continent except Antarctica.
|They do well in populated areas|
Even though Ospreys are here all year around, they're a migrating bird. And if they live out their full life, of 15 to 20 years, they can log over 160,000 miles in a lifetime, with some of their migrating paths being from the east coast, to South America.
|The "aerial sky-dance" with a needle fish|
The nesting period for Ospreys is 50 to 55 days. This pair didn't have a lot of work to do, with the nest already being there. But, after the male finds the nesting sight, there's always stick repair, and remodeling to be done.
|The proud parents|
Three eggs is the average number that's laid, and this pair was no exception. The eggs don't hatch all at once, but sometimes, up to 5 days apart. And it's not uncommon for the oldest chick to keep food from the youngest, causing it to starve to death. This was also true with this pair. But, the two surviving chicks didn't live long.
When I thought the time was getting close for the chicks to hatch, I stopped and checked on the nest. Sure enough, the male and female were both sitting on the nest, with two chicks. The chicks were just born, so I decided not to bother them, and didn't stop for several days. Then I noticed what I thought to be the female, flying just above the nest, with several sea gulls flying close by. I decided to stop, and what I saw, made me very sad. There were two dead chicks, with a plastic bag wrapped around them. There's a good chance they were suffocated by someone that was careless with their trash. Whether it was tossed out, or blew out on it's own, doesn't really matter. And who knows where the garbage might have originated. One thing's for sure, it didn't belong in this Osprey's nest.
|A sad ending|
|Fly So Free|