It’s Complicated.

I am puzzled. I’ve visited the osprey family four times in the last one week. I had expected to see the young lady do frequent flying practice, but that hasn’t been the case. Regardless of the timing and length of my visit, I’ve found mama osprey and the nestling sitting tight in the nest. Deeply involved in discussions.

Do you hear me mama?
Do you hear me mama?

I’ve witnessed a wide array of vocalizations, from pleasant discussion tones to loud shouting matches between mom and daughter. To the point that I’ve rummaged the internet for a rosetta stone version in osprey language. No luck so far.

Shall we talk or shall we fly?
Shall we talk or shall we fly?

The other day both mama osprey and the teen did some wing exercises in the nest. The nestling was flexing, but did not fly, and mama osprey did some Pilates. Lots of stretching going on, and lots of communication.

Mama osprey doing Pilates..streeetch...left, right
Mama osprey doing Pilates..streeetch…left, right

On the top of that, papa osprey has not shown up during any of my visits since more than two weeks back. Last time I saw him, he came empty-handed and mama osprey flew away immediately. Is there a rift between the parents? Papa sleeping on a couch somewhere? Or did something happen to him? I have no way of knowing.

My latest picture of papa osprey on May 11
My latest picture of papa osprey on May 11

This morning I went to see them much earlier than I usually do. First I saw only mama osprey. I was hoping the nestling had finally gone out for flying practice, but then I saw the breeze lift up a few feathers and discovered a brown back in the nest. The youngster was still sleeping! At 10:30 in the morning.

Mama osprey guarding her sleeping nestling
Mama osprey guarding her sleeping nestling

Soon the teen woke up and slowly stood up.

The osprey teen is waking up...
The osprey teen is waking up…

The dialogue they have been having every day since last Sunday started almost immediately. I waited and waited. No flying practice this morning either. But I noticed many new decorations hanging down from the nest. And the balcony flowers were still alive and well.

Osprey discussion...on the loud side this morning
Osprey discussion…on the loud side this morning

I started to get worried and wondered if something was not right. I decided to check on them more often from my terrace (using our strongest binoculars) to see if the youngster would fly at all during the day.  To my delight I saw her flying two short rounds fairly close to the nest late this afternoon! She didn’t soar high like her mama as yet, but at least these practice rounds were a bit longer than what I’d seen her do earlier, a few minutes each. So I’m hoping everything is alright. And that fishing lessons will follow. Family life can be complicated indeed.

Tri-colored heron in the reserve
Tri-colored heron in the reserve

I have to tell you something else. The other day I saw yet another bird I haven’t seen in the nature reserve before: a tri-colored heron!

And today I witnessed a “crowd” of four different birds on a little island in the marsh. The vacation season has started. Lots of demand for prime real estate with water views.

Four different birds on an island: small blue heron, small white egret, roseate spoonbill and two ibis.
Four different birds on an island: small blue heron, small white egret, roseate spoonbill and two ibis.

Will keep you updated on developments. Hope your week is going great.

17 thoughts on “It’s Complicated.”

    1. It’s interesting indeed. I hope we’ll learn more of what might have happened…hope to see papa back home one of these days.

  1. You have nicely described the 21st century household….errrr…. osprey’s nest 🙂 It will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes now that there are new folks in the neighbourhood.

    1. Thanks. Yes – sometimes there are striking similarities 🙂 I think more (different types of) birds are visiting the marsh right now on their way up north…and the same happens in the fall. I’ve many “first sightings” this spring, like the reddish egret, wood stork, night heron, moorehen and the tri-colored heron. The roseate spoonbills also visited last year. The permanent residents are the osprey, blue heron, ibis and egret…in addition to mallards and small birds, even gulls/terns who come to enjoy the fish there. And maybe some of the visitors decide to seek residence 🙂

  2. I am curious about where the dad is and I sure hope nothing happened to him. As I read beneath each picture I just keep seeing a typical human teens wanting to sleep in and put forth as little effort to accomplish something as possible while awake. I guess apparently that happens some in the bird families too. 🙂 Wonderful pictures as always sweet Tiny. Hugs

    1. Happy you liked the pictures! I am worried about papa osprey and trying to check on the nest from my terrace to see if he pays a visit. I’m also trying to find out if this is something that’s supposed to happen when the young one fledges, but haven’t found anything about it…yet.

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