Battering Winds, Tireless Work, Love. And a Parakeet.

The Osprey Family’s nestoration project has now entered its 3rd week. Despite the extremely windy conditions in the last few days, the osprey couple has continued to work without a break to get their nest ready on time.

stormy ocean wave2
The ocean was angry on Saturday.

Most other birds hunkered down taking shelter from the wind as you can see in this gallery. It was so windy that keeping myself standing steadily enough to shoot acceptable pictures was challenging.

On Saturday when I decided to dare the winds, I found Mama Sandy balancing on the edge of the nest facing the wind. She was calling on Papa Stanley to bring her fish…but he was busy. Eating on a dead palm trunk nearby.

osprey holding on in the wind
Mama Osprey balancing against the wind…
osprey eating fish
…and Papa Osprey on “his” palm trunk eating lunch.

He heard her calls and looked in her direction, but I couldn’t stand the wind long enough to see how much of the fish Mama would get. It looked like a lunch for two, and I assumed he would share.

Yesterday I found the nest empty when I arrived, but just a minute or two later Mama Osprey zoomed in with a huge swath of soft nursery materials flying in the strong wind.

osprey delivers nest materials
Mama Osprey has gone shopping for nursery materials…
mama osprey eager to build
Mama Sandy is eager to finish the nursery design.

It was clear to me she was eager to get the materials secured in place and was calling for Papa to help.  In a very determined manner. But where was Papa Stanley?

osprey calling
Mama calling for Papa…

You guessed it.  I found him on “his” palm trunk eating fish.  Mama’s crop was fairly full, so she had already gotten an early lunch. Now it was his lunch hour.

osprey eating fish
Papa Osprey eating lunch…
osprey with a fish
…but looks who’s there.

He looked at me, then continued eating. I walked back to the nest and saw Mama Sandy had started to prepare the nursery on her own.

 osprey redecorating
Mama Osprey redecorating the nest…

Then last night, just before sunset when the winds were at their strongest, I went out on our terrace to check on them. I saw them huddling together in the nest. Looking at each other. Love birds.

Papa and mama osprey together in the nest
Love birds daring the wind together…

The wind had finally calmed down this morning, and I took a longer walk in the salt marsh and around the park at lunch time. Birds were out and about everywhere, and I found Mama Sandy alone in the nest. She had not finished her lunch, but it looked like all the nursery materials had been put in place.

osprey with a fish in the nest
Mama Osprey has a fish for lunch…

Just when I was taking pictures of her, Papa Stanley flew into the nest. Only for a second or two. I guess to show her his lunch catch. He flew away in the direction of “his” palm trunk nearby.

osprey flying away w fish
…and now Papa osprey also has a fish.

So I walked over there expecting to find him. But found something completely different.

Nanday Parakeet
Nanday Parakeet says hi…
Nanday parakeet 2
…and checks on Tiny.

A Nanday Parakeet had reserved Papa’s perch for herself! I have never seen this pet bird in the wild before, but apparently there is a sizeable feral population here in our area.

So where did Papa Stanley go with his fish? Mama helped me in that regard. She called and he answered. So finally I found him just beyond the park’s border on a lamp-post. He had almost finished his  fish.

 osprey finishing his fish
Papa Osprey has eaten fast…

That’s when Mama Sandy sounded a long alarm call! Even I knew what that meant: another osprey was approaching the nest. Papa Stanley didn’t waste a second, he flew to the nest with such speed I couldn’t even snap a picture. That’s love. I jogged back to the salt marsh.  Getting good exercise with these guys 🙂

osprey flies by the nest
Osprey Steve flies around the nest…

The osprey flying above the nest was Steve, normally friends with both Mama and Papa. But it all changes when they start nesting, so now he was a threat.

When I arrived Papa Stanley was already there, and both of them were scanning the skies together.

mama and papa osprey scaning the skies
…Mama and Papa osprey scan the skies together.
Papa protects the nest while Mama finishes her lunch.
Papa protects the nest while Mama finishes her lunch.

When everything calmed down, Mama Sandy finished her lunch while Papa Stanley stayed there protecting her. That’s when I decided it was a good time to go home.

Hope you enjoyed the adventures of our couple.  Reporting from the salt marsh, Tiny

47 thoughts on “Battering Winds, Tireless Work, Love. And a Parakeet.”

    1. It looks like he has made that palm trunk his “man cave”. He goes there when he wants to be by himself 🙂 I think the material was dried sea algae. It must have been brought on shore by the storm and Mama went to the beach to pick it up. It’ll make a nice, soft center for the egg(s).

  1. Confirmed – It is now a soap opera!
    The way Papa Osprey is behaving… no wonder cool and bright missie parakeet shows up to teach him thing or two about what’s important!
    How come its always men who will be boys … and women who retain the the wisdom, endurance, flexibility and practicality for survival?
    Great photos and story Tiny!

    1. Yes, drama and love intertwined 🙂 The saying “boys will be boys” appears to apply here too. My admiration for Mama Sandy is growing every time I see her. But I’m happy Papa is feeding her well and is very responsive when it really matters. The bright green parakeet was a total surprise! Stay tuned…

    1. To see that Parakeet was a great “bonus” today! S/he behaved much like a pet bird, I almost expected him to talk. Coming home I checked and found out there is a fairly big population of wild Nanday Parakeets here in the bay area.

    1. They are quite fascinating! They live simply and instinctively, go about their stuff without worry, take a day at the time, from moment to moment 🙂 Hope your week is going good!

  2. Why do I hear Mama calling Stanley in a voice like Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company?

    Love the pictures and the stories, as usual!

    1. Thanks! I didn’t live here in the US when Three’s Company was on TV, but what I’ve read, she was quite a character! And Mama Sandy certainly is too, knows what she wants 🙂

    1. Thank you! The green jacketed visitor was such a delightful surprise 🙂 I’m wondering if s/he’s considering a permanent residency in our park or was just visiting.

    1. Mama osprey has improved the design constantly so the nest seems to be sturdy, even the soft materials have stayed there. But at some point the ospreys themselves stayed put in the nest with some difficulty only, facing the wind which blows pretty much directly from the Gulf at that height.

    1. Thanks Takami! I’m just glad this “boy” seems to be quite a good fisherman as those skills will be needed even more when the little one(s) come 🙂

    1. Keeps me on my feet! And I have so much fun trying to keep up with them. Did a long hike too exactly a week ago on a pristine island, more on that later.

  3. I love the osprey pictures and the commentary as to what was happening. My husband and I have watched ospreys before and they’re quite interesting. You don’t want to get too close though – when they dive bomb you with those talons, you could get hurt pretty badly. We had to give up one of our hiking paths (years ago) because the nest was too close to the path and the birds were just too aggressive.


    1. Thanks Nancy! I have followed this osprey couple for more than a year now, including the whole nesting season last year. I started in a very careful manner and retreated immediately if any of them sounded a warning. Then last summer (these ospreys don’t migrate, they stay in FL year around) I somehow managed to establish trust with Mama Osprey. When she was at the nest, she allowed me to come just under the nest without any fear. At the end of the summer, she ate, slept and groomed while I was there. And now it seems Papa is accepting me as well. They sound warnings and even high-pitched alarms, when other people walk too close to the nest. The only time I’ve seen any real aggression on their part was when two people walked too close to the nest with two huge dogs last spring. They ended up running away, while I could stay where I was. The ospreys calmed down and started feeding their nestling.

    1. She is a great lady! Knows what she wants and makes it happen 🙂 And they are good neighbors, they make sure I get regular exercise!

    1. Thanks H.J.! I tried to find the Parakeet today (apparently two of them live in the inner parts of the park), but didn’t see them. Got excellent exercise though through the woods 🙂

  4. I enjoyed reading the story and viewing this special post so much, Tiny! What a great photos you captures! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Amy! These guys keep me going out to see what they’re up to, and in the process I get lots of exercise, which is never bad 🙂

  5. What drama in the salt marshes, Tiny! Here you are battling fierce winds to get pictures for us! Bravo for you! I LOVED this story and I cannot wait to see baby ospreys. How exciting all this is as you are documenting an exceptional occasion! Thank you so much for reporting, because in my neck of the woods, I don’t see this. I look forward to the next installment! Love, Amy

    1. There is always some drama going on in the salt marsh, particularly now that the nesting season is starting for many of the residents there. I’m happy you enjoy my “reporting”, it makes it all worthwhile 🙂 Love, Tiny

      1. Oh, Tiny, I totally enjoyed this!! I really look forward to more drama from over there. LOVE LOVE LOVE these reports! I know what you mean it makes it all worth it when someone’s comment brings great JOY to the Heart. (((HUGS))) Amy

  6. Tiny, you are doing a fantastic job sharing their lives with us! I am truly enjoying it 🙂

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