I know a leader when I see one. That’s how I’ve made my livelihood, at least to a part. Spotting leadership talent and helping it flourish. Now I’ve spotted such talent in the nature reserve. Ready to lead. No coaching required.
That’s Mama Osprey, of course. You knew it, right? Or you may want some proof? I have plenty.
First, she cares about her community. The salt marsh has plenty of fish, from huge footlongs to medium and small. It would be easy to just dive down from the nest and get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like opening the fridge. But she doesn’t fish there.
She leaves the food supply for residents who can’t fish in the ocean. Like this tiny Tri-colored Heron.
Second, she ensures peace in the community. She constantly scans the skies and the grounds for any threats. And warns the residents whenever she detects a potential danger. Like dogs walking their people or bicyclists on the foot path closest to the marsh.
Or the two other ospreys, Stanley and Steve, who have settled in the area. Don’t get me wrong. Mama Osprey lets them thrive in the park. And even allows them to use her favorite dead palm trunk as their breakfast bar.
But she keeps a watchful eye on their movements. And sends a message of caution, as and when warranted. It’s clear that she has earned their respect.
Third, she’s on the top of everything in the community. Has the big picture. Gently keeps tabs on the residents’ comings and goings. Like this Great Blue Heron, who periodically takes trips to the bay-side to socialize with fishermen in exchange for free fish.
Or the Pelicans who fly in shuttle traffic between the ocean and the bay right over the salt marsh.
And the young Night Herons who practice landing at the tree tops with varying degrees of success.
And not to talk about the large Egret population that tends to move back and forth between the tiny islands in search of the best fish.
Fourth, Mama Osprey trusts her gut. I got proof of that just a couple of days ago when I met a nice bird photographer. He was a visitor, not familiar with the nature reserve . So we started to chat and I told him about the nest. After a while I heard Mama Osprey’s warning calls. Unwanted disturbance too close to the nest.
And then saw the poor guy walk away from the vicinity of the nest. After he left, I went to see Mama Osprey. She was her calm, good-looking self and turned to greet me when I walked right under the nest. Not a peep, just a friendly nod. She definitely trusts her gut.
Then we both admired the bright yellow wild flowers that had popped up right next to the nest pole. I snapped a picture, she checked on the little worm crawling on one of the flowers.
My conclusion, based on all this evidence, is that Mama Osprey is a pioneering community leader with natural clout. I hope you agree with my assessment.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Ps. This post has been edited after publishing when I discovered that PO (Papa Osprey) actually was Mama Osprey.