Papa Osprey. The Maintenance Man.

My  regular readers know that Papa Osprey is a good man. Last January-February he made numerous trips to Home Depot fetching materials for nest renovation. Then tirelessly brought home fish after fish on a daily basis to feed Mama Osprey and the nestling. After the young one fledged, he sent Mama Osprey on a well deserved vacation. He cared for the youngster one more month, until she was completely independent and knew how to fish for herself. Remarkable achievements.

Papa osprey from Sand Key, Clearwater, FL
Papa Osprey on his favorite palm trunk

After he moved out of the nest and left it for the youngster to enjoy, I didn’t see him for about a month. Maybe he needed to recuperate and went on a cruise in the Caribbean? Or had some fun in Key West? Mid July I discovered he was back in his “township”. Since then he’s been hanging around. I’ve spotted him perched on the top of a dead palm trunk on the eastern edge of the park. Or on one of the street lights next to the bay. And even on Marriot’s roof. He’s looking after his territory. Managing his assets.

my bench 712
This bench has my name written on it…

But that’s not all. Yesterday, when I got out for a run, I was looking forward to greeting him again. I jogged north along the edge of the park and passed “his” palm tree. Not there. Then I checked the lamp posts where I’ve spotted him previously. Even took a swing around the Sailing Club grounds, but he was nowhere to be seen. A bit disappointed I turned around and headed into the nature reserve. I needed a short break to drink some water. And to dig out my camera. Just in case something interesting would happen around the salt marsh. So I sat down on my usual bench under the trees. I had some water. Then I looked up.

papa osprey visiting the nest 812 clearwater, FL
Surprise, surprise! Papa Osprey is at “home”…

Papa Osprey was perched right where he always used to be, on the edge of his nest! And he was looking at me. Approvingly, I thought. Like saying nice to see you’re exercising in this heat. So we enjoyed each other’s company quietly for a good while. He even allowed me to walk right under the nest without saying a peep.

papa osprey at the nest 0812 Clearwater, FL
Check the underside of the nest, fairly heavy stuff…

That was a nod of trust right there! He was in no hurry to leave, but I had to get back home and back to work. So I continued my run through the park and the beach. When I finally came home, I took my birding binoculars and went straight onto the terrace. To check if he was still there. Can you guess what I saw?

papa osprey lifting sticks
Papa Osprey inspecting the nest and finding it in need of repair…
maintenance papa osprey
And this needs to go here…

Papa Osprey was doing maintenance work on the nest! Busy moving big sticks and twigs, then securing them better. Structural adjustments. I was too tired to set up my tripod so the quality is grainy from camera shake, but you can see him demonstrating great maintenance skills. He couldn’t allow the nest to fall apart. It would be their home again come January.  He undertook maintenance work in the summer heat. Needless to say I was impressed.

papa osprey saying hi 813 clearwater, FL
Hi Tiny, you want a picture?

I saw him again on today’s run, perched on a lamp post next to the bay. He posed nicely for about a minute, as if waiting for me to take the picture. Then he flew up and soared high above the bay.

papa osprey in flight 813d
Papa Osprey soaring over the bay…

I felt like soaring too. Little lighter on my foot. That’s what a “medicine bird” (in Nez Perce tribe’s mythology) does to you.

41 thoughts on “Papa Osprey. The Maintenance Man.”

  1. Oh, Tiny! What a glorious post!!! I couldn’t believe that Papa Osprey looked directly at you without a feather ruffling. I so enjoyed this post, and boy, can we humans learn from this magnificent bird. How to care for our own. Keeping attentive to our place, making sure all is right. How to protect our families and care for them. Amazing story, Tiny. Just amazing. I really thank you for posting Papa Osprey. One summer I watched Robins and how they tirelessly fed their young. I got tired just watching them. (((HUGS))) Amy

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Amy! I truly enjoyed watching this family during the nesting season as there is so much we can learn. I’m already looking forward to seeing them again next year. Many hugs!

  2. Beautiful pictures! Obviously Papa Osprey recognizes you as a friend and trusts you.
    I do believe birds sense who’s friendly and who’s not. I could get up close to my swallows when they were poking heads out of nests. And the barn swallows, notorious for defending their nests, never budged when I came in to check on them. Once they know you, it’s only when they feel cornered that they’ll react defensively.

    1. Thanks Christine. I agree with you. I think he recognizes me somehow because I’ve seen how he reacts to other people who come too close for his comfort.

  3. Papa Osprey is the man! And, you, Tiny, are a wonderful photographer and writer and observer. Papa Osprey knows that you are a fellow creature who cares about your world.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! It’s funny how I saw him watching my approach this morning…and when I had gotten a couple of pictures he just spread his wings and off he went. I’d been hoping to see him in flight one of these days…and that’s exactly what I got 🙂

  4. I do believe my friend you have a mutual admirer. I think all animals and birds instinctly know who is ‘safe’ and who might not be. Wonderful pictures of Papa. Hugs.

    1. Thanks Jackie! I’m sure you are right about their instinct. Btw, this “medicine bird ” sent special greetings to you, my friend. Many hugs

    1. Thanks Nancy! I can feel it today…but at least the morning is stormy today, thunder and lightning…so it’ll be tomorrow next, I guess.

  5. What an absolutely beautiful bird….just like the hawk I saw, I get the impression that these birds can see straight through to our souls. They seem to be able to figure out which humans they can trust.

    1. That’s a very good way of putting it! It completely supports what I’ve seen with ospreys and also some of the other big birds. I’m already looking forward to following the same osprey couple during the next nesting season….

  6. What awesome opportunities! I can tell you are attached to Papa Osprey…and I am, too. So glad to see his cooperation and your consistent reporting. I like being spoiled in this way. 😉 (And I’m glad I came back to see what blog posts I might have missed. Since I have been relying on Facebook, I have found they are not so reliable for seeing everything I want to see.)

    1. Yes, I’m attached to PO! He’s so likable and now that he doesn’t get alarmed or fly away when I approach, it’s so fun to follow him. Next nesting season I can get pictures of the nest from my terrace…not very clear as I have to zoom all out, but it’ll be fun to see the little one(s) before they can look out of the nest 🙂

  7. Wow, Tiny! I just love your “friend” and what a wonderful story here! Your images are just spectacular..he is one magnificent guy and you are so lucky to be able to observe him!!

    1. I feel very lucky having a bird favored salt marsh almost next door and that the ospreys home is observable from my terrace. P.O. has been at the nest a few hours every single day since end July and has “befriended” me enough to allow me being very close 🙂

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