Journal archives for March 2021

March 30, 2021

Treasure Island's Resident Ospreys

So I thought I'd make a post about "my" ospreys.

Now, ospreys are certainly not uncommon in Florida, heck, I'd say they're almost abundant in the right habitat. (Which I guess could be the ocean, a lake, a river, a bay... ) But anyway. There's this pair of ospreys that are always outback, but it wasn't always like that when we first moved to Treasure Island.

At first, I thought it was the coolest thing ever, walking out and seeing an eagle-like bird effortlessly hovering over the bay. And the sound he would make, it was almost sad like he was longing for someone.

Then as time passed, he stopped flying over the bay and just sat on our neighbor's roof for hours at a time. He kept making that sad sound, it was almost eerie. I actually felt bad for him. For about 3 months, he disappeared. I figured he'd moved on. But then he came back. I heard him before I saw him, he was making the happiest sound I've heard from a bird. But then I realized, that sounds like more than one! And the next thing I knew, he came tumbling out of the sky. I was freaked out! Then... I saw her. A wonderful young lady, trailing behind him. And right before that hit the water, they spun around, talons entwined. And they sounded so happy! Oh, it was amazing. Then they flew really high again and fell once more. They would twist around right before they hit the water, screeching with joy. They repeated this about 2 times.

I wondered what on Earth they were doing. And then I remembered. He was courting her! And he must have been successful, because they dove together, caught a nice sheepshead, and flew off, side by side, once again, screeching with happiness.

After that, I didn't see them for about 3 weeks. But when they came back, watching them fly together, hunt together, sit together. It was truly amazing. And then they built a nest. It was huge, right on top of our house. It was so fun watching them carrying sticks! But then there were the fish crows. Now, I love crows, but not during nesting season. They would mob them, sometimes stealing their sticks. In order to get their sticks, they had to cross crow territory. And let me tell you. Those birds don't play. It was unbelievable how mean they were, mobbing them until they dropped their sticks and screeched from disappointment. So I had to act. I went out with my dad and we cut down some sticks from a dead tree that REALLY needed to be removed, lol. But we sat them on our dock each day and watched them grab them and take them to our roof. Safe from crows.

But when the babies came, it got messy. Each morning I would walk out and there would be fish heads and bones lying around, it was stinky! But I would take them out front, in the beach area of the bay, and let the seagulls and egrets pick off the discarded meat. So nothing went to waste. 😌 Oh, and let's not forget about the bird poo. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Over time, the babies grew, and so did the food. It went from needlefish to sheepshead to large sea-mullet to jacks... And it all stunk soooo bad. But it was worth it, knowing that my sad little man was happy with a wife and kids.

Soon the babies started to fly, and it was very fun to watch them teach the youngsters how to hunt, and in no time they started going off on their own. About 10 weeks and they were already gone. (but the stench sure wasn't)

But the coolest thing is, the babies (now all grown up of course) still hang around. Watching them play and "talk" to each other is so much fun!

Anyway. I love my ospreys. 😊

Posted on March 30, 2021 18:36 by swallow-tailed-kite swallow-tailed-kite | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment