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Return of the Osprey

“my” urban osprey family enjoying the sun

I’ve been pleased to find that the osprey that I enjoyed so much last year have returned to their nest. Mama showed up very early this spring, and pops was not far behind her. There are a couple of other adults hanging around as well (maybe these are last year’s babies?). They sing constantly, and a few times recently, I have noticed them chasing an eagle away from the nest. This is pretty fascinating, considering that I live in the city!

Having them so close has piqued my interest, so I’ve tried to learn more about these beautiful birds. This facebook page has great pictures and info about a nest in Montana, and about seahawks in general. It has made me wonder if “my” birds have eggs in their nest, and if so, how many and if they’ve hatched yet.

Last weekend, I gained a little more insight on that. I looked outside my living room window and noticed a large (duck-sized) bird on the ground. At first I thought it was a peahen or pheasant, because of the coloring.

Eel river osprey photo © Talia Rose

When I went outside to get a better look, I was able to get quite close before it scurried under a fence. It had the unmistakable hooked bill of a raptor, and I could see that it had downy feathers and some injuries/bald spots (in retrospect, maybe the bald spots were patches where the feathers had not come in yet?). I started to feel pretty sure that it was a baby from the nearby nest so I called a local wildlife rescue. We searched in the brush for quite some time, but could not find the little fella again.

After our search, I did an online image search and confirmed that it was definitely an osprey chick. Based on the images and information that I found, I am guessing it was just under a month old. So, now I know that there was at least one egg, which definitely hatched. While I feel so blessed to have seen this creature up close like that, I’m pretty sad because I suspect that he did not make it. At least, the woman at the rescue said that chicks generally cannot survive very long outside the nest at this age. I’m really hoping that they have more chicks up there, and that I will get to see them fledge before we move!

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