Bella & Beau 2018: Building and Protecting Their Nest

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

May 4, 2018

I am happy to report Beau’s instinct to increase the nest size has kicked in.  Either that or Bella is telling him so.  When Bella takes a break, I’ve seen her return with nesting materials as well.

Sunny days…..


and cloudy days.
It’s a never-ending job now.


_DSC0141-1 42718

Bella turning her egg(s) while Beau works on the nest.


Materials have included a lot of soft items like clumps of grass and leaves.


The hard work in nest building continues to have its downfalls though…..literally into the water or on the dock.

_DSC0096-1 5218

Bella works on placing a stick while Beau takes his turn on the egg(s).


_DSC0097-1 5218

Bella looses the stick and it falls to the water, alongside the many other sticks lost to the dock.


_DSC0100-1 5218

Bella looks down at the water and stick.  Is that a look of disgust?


Bella determines the wood of the platform is a problem with stick placement and tries to bite at it to move it.  She worked on it for several minutes.  Meanwhile, Beau catches a little nap.

_DSC0103-1 5218

Bella wants that wood removed, it’s in the way!


And so here’s the nest as of May 4.  It is growing in size, but needs to get much, much bigger for the safety of a family.

_DSC0012-1 5418 nest

Bella & Beau’s nest today, May 4.


And while trying to incubate eggs, fish for meals, and build their nest, Bella and Beau are also on the look-out constantly for enemies.  Enemies that fly over their nest and in their fly-space.  Enemies that could steal their precious egg(s).

I previously mentioned there is a pair of Osprey that either didn’t mate or maybe lost their eggs, that continue to fly overhead, circling the nest.  Almost as if to irritate Bella and Beau.  On occasion, Beau will chase them if they come too close but mostly he and Bella screams loudly to let the intruding Osprey know they are not welcomed.



A Great Blue Heron has been visiting the docks each day for the past week.  I’ve seen Osprey attack a Great Blue Heron if it is too close for the Osprey’s comfort.  So far Bella and Beau are just keeping an eye on this Heron.  Lucky for him!

Beau watching the Great Blue Heron who this time is on their dock where the nest platform pole is attached.


We have the occasional American Bald Eagle pass over, minding his/her own business.  Beau and Bella do not like Eagles.  One of them will pursue it to chase it away.

_DSC0188-1 41418

American Bald Eagle cruising over the Osprey nest.


Beau was perched on a sailboat mast by the nest.  Bella started screaming and Beau took off after the Eagle, with the balance of his fish still in his talons.

_DSC0199-1 41418

Beau in pursuit of the American Bald Eagle.


Another Eagle passing by, this time at sunset.  And this time Beau is quick in his speed and catches up to the Eagle.

Beau speeds after an American Bald Eagle.


_DSC0026-1 5418

Beau bears his talons, tries to dive at the Eagle, but misses.  The Eagle ignores Beau and keeps going.


Beau is not the only one to show his intent to attack an intruder.  A Red-tailed Hawk flew too close while Beau was incubating and Bella was perched on the nest, taking a break.  Bella was into the air and sped after the Red-tailed Hawk.

_DSC0109-1 42818 F

Bella in pursuit of the Red-tailed Hawk.


_DSC0116-1 42818 F

Bella tries to attack the Red-tailed hawk.


_DSC0120-1 42818 F

The Red-tailed Hawk does not like the attempted attack….


_DSC0124-1 42818 F

…..circles around and begins chasing Bella.


_DSC0113-1 42818 F

Now the Red-tailed Hawk tries to attack Bella.


The two chased each other back and forth until the Red-tailed Hawk sped off and out of sight.

So daily life proves it isn’t so easy for Bella and Beau.  However, they have shown they are a team.  Hopefully, their hard work will continue and prevail, gracing our world with another generation of Osprey as is intended by nature.


(For all the posts on Bella & Beau’s 2018 season, you can click HERE.)



54 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2018: Building and Protecting Their Nest

    • Happy you enjoy the it, David! 🙂 It is entertaining at times. I can hear the Osprey inside when they get loud, they give me the clue to step outside with camera in hand to shoot the action unfolding. Sometimes it is too easy, lol.

  1. Thanks the update Donna, keep them coming! Those photos of the birds chasing others away would have been hard to get. Love that last pic!

    • You’re welcome, Sue, and thank you! Usually when a loud ruckus, I do hurry out onto the balcony to see who’s intruding the air space. And yes, the chases are hard to capture, they twist and turn quickly and I’d loose them and the many others I totally missed.

    • Thanks Gunta, I am enjoying getting the chance to watch Osprey again on a daily basis. And yes, Bella is a good Momma! But I’ve also been impressed with Beau’s incubating. At first, I could tell he was uncomfortable and anxiously got up to let Bella get back on the eggs whenever she returned, but now he’s become a great egg-sitter, no anxiousness, even when Bella is there and perched for a breather. 🙂

  2. A great story telling post, almost like reading an exciting children’s book, in fact it would make a great book Donna with those amazing close up and clear photos. Yes it is hard work for birds so exposed nesting to keep predators away. I really enjoyed the story and appreciate the effort you put in to capture so much of the Osprey;s day. Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

    • Thanks so much, Ashley! I did an “2011 Osprey Rewind” post of that year’s season of Oliver & Olivia, ‘my’ Osprey family back then and have been told numerous times to create a children’s book with that post. Thinking about it, and now I hope to have the time to consider doing one. As for Bella & Beau, they provide so much entertainment and get pretty loud at times to alert me something’s going on. My camera lays right by the balcony sliding door, so it’s easy to grab. Soon as the Spring pollen stops polluting everything, I’ll be able to put my tripod outside for long periods. Right now I’m mostly shooting hand-held. And having fun! Have a wonderful weekend as well my friend!

  3. What a wonderful story you are creating, Donna. You should make a book out of it when the season ends. I noticed a lot of limbs on the dock. Did humans put them there for the osprey to take to their nest??

    • Thank you, Susan, it’s a lot of fun and the Osprey certainly provide constant entertainment daily. The limbs on the dock are just below the nest, the platform metal pole is attached to the dock. They are the ones that have fallen from the nest. 😦 If they’d just swoop down and pick them up!!

  4. That’s a lively and dramatic narrative accompanying excellent shots! You’re doing a great job Donna, I’m proud of you! Have a happy weekend! 🙂

  5. Recently we camped at Elk Neck State Park and saw ospreys near the docks there. They were beautiful. We also see Ospreys and Eagles nearer our home in New Jersey when we go to the Delaware Bay to fish. They are beautiful birds. I have been enjoying watching the live cams on the Cornell Lab of Orthinology site.

  6. Fantastic sightings, and entertainment! I love the in flight shots, the Eagles, the sparring! Great stuff Donna!!

    I have doubts about the Osprey’s nest building skills. I hope they get it together soon!

    • Thanks Deborah, glad you are enjoying the story. Yes, the nest isn’t looking so great, I thought Beau would kick it in high gear but he hasn’t. I’ve seen Bella only bring nesting cup materials but of course much goes on when I am not catching a look out. Even more sticks on the dock that they’ve dropped or knocked off the platform, geez!!! 🙂

    • Thank you Maralee! They are a wonderful addicition! lol I had a neighbor ask today if I could see the eggs; but I cannot, even when the adult stands up. And, boy, I sure have tried. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Bella & Beau: And Then There’s Gus | Photos by Donna

  8. I had missed this post! Great series of shots of Bella and Beau! Such is the life of the Osprey…constantly needing to defend their nest. My heart races to my throat when I see Bald Eagles around the nest here…Stanley always tries to chase them to the other side of the bay where they belong 🙂

    • Thanks, Helen, yes the Osprey really do not like Bald Eagles, who usually just want to pass on by. I have seen and photographed a Bald Eagle returning the attack with his talons out as well, and it’s clear by size who would probably win in a fight. It gets scary!

      • It really does get scary as the size difference is so big…let’s hope for peaceful neighbors for the ospreys there and here.

  9. Your documentation of the nest-building efforts is fascinating to see and read – we have many osprey here but I’ve never watched their nest building. Is it unusual for them to have such small-ish nests when there are already eggs? I love the dramatic eagle scenes – like watching it unfold in a nature film!

    • It is definitely unusual for a little to no nest for Osprey with eggs. Bella was constantly trying to keep a grassy cup around the eggs while she brooded and the eggs hatched. Along with the days of rain, I think the lack thereof was one of the reasons she lost one of her chicks. 😦

      It was an exhilarating, heart-pounding season for sure! 😊

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: