We have a little drama going on with our (Osprey) nest here on Amelia Island. I snapped these photos this morning as I left the park after turtle patrol. (The nest) was mounted high on a pole just beside the original nest after the old nest kept falling piecemeal onto the power lines below. Nice to have them care enough to do that for the birds rather than just tear their nest apart. The ospreys took to the nest right away and built yearly right on schedule, except for the year the owls beat them to it, but the minute the owls left with their youngsters, the Ospreys moved right back in. We have a rather informal group which communicates by email and tries to monitor and report to each other any news from "the pole". We call ourselves the "pole watchers", and have taken the names for the Ospreys from another fellow who works down the street and watches them also. He calls them, Alpha (the male) and Little Girl (the female of course). Last year we were very sad when the storm, Beryl, drowned the new chicks in the nest. Alpha and Little Girl went through the motions of rebuilding their nest but when the nesting hormones subsided they finally abandoned their efforts and did not get to raise any in the 2012 nest. This year things were off to a good start, with no damage from any of the early storms, and two hatchlings in the nest it was determined by "the pole watchers." Then we began to suspect something had happened when we could only spot one of the parents feeding and caring for the young. Usually the male hunts while the female stays at or nearby watching the nest. Now there was never anyone there except at feeding time. Then a report came to one of us that an Osprey had been found very nearby in the middle of the road with a badly broken wing. Our worst fears were confirmed, tempered by the glimmer of hope that the other osprey was at least alive. The bird was taken to B.E.A.K.S, a wild bird sanctuary, where we found out it did indeed have a very badly broken wing, and although it will live, the bird will never fly again in the wild. The next chore is to identify which bird was hurt, as none of our photos of the remaining parent have been good enough to see if it has the distinguishing "necklace" of the female but we feel pretty sure that Little Girl is the one now feeding and nurturing the chick. We will know for sure when I go to B.E.A.K.S. to get some photos of the Osprey, there and do a story about them. We have one chick remaining in the nest and are hoping the other one just fledged early and did not get eaten by an owl or eagle. The photos today are of the remaining osprey chick which is almost ready to leave the nest. Poor Little Girl is such a trooper to work so hard as a single mom to hunt, feed and raise the chicks alone.
This is the live cam on the Maine Osprey nest. The babies are growing like weeds.