Bella & Beau 2018: No Firm News Yet

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

May 20, 2018

Since their last post, Bella & Beau have been trying to keep to their nesting duties while Mother Nature has brought them showers, rain, thunderstorms, hail, and winds with gusts up to 60 mph, with heavy rains the last couple days.

This weather has been disheartening.  Heavy rains for long periods during the hatching time period can be challenging for successful, healthy hatchlings.

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Several days were like this, just wet and yucky.


Poor Bella…..

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Bella enduring the rain.


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Bella enduring the rain.


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Bella spread low and tightly protecting her egg clutch while rain pours.


By calculations, an egg could have hatched.  I have been watching Bella & Beau with 20×80 binoculars and looking for behavioral changes.  Here’s what I noted.

When changing over incubating duties, both parents are now peering down in the nest and staring, before settling back on the nest cup and egg(s).

Many times, I’ve also seen Bella make a sudden movement, then get up, and resettle.  Or she keeps her head down low for a brief moment, head moving gently.

With all this, it does seem like something is going on, but it is too early to confirm if there has been a successful hatching.

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Bella inspecting her nesting cup.


Two to three days before a hatching, an Osprey egg “stars” (first cracks).  Then about 12 hours before hatching, the chick’s beak creates a pip hole and begins the long hours of trying to exit the egg.  A chick may chirp faintly, especially if distressed.


Bella inspecting the nesting cup.


We wonder what Bella is seeing and thinking.


A newly hatched Osprey chick is very weak in movement but can briefly beg, so the female parent will try to feed it very small bits of fish starting the first day.  I’ve been watching for a chick feeding by Bella, but the foul weather has really made it difficult to see what she is doing when she is doing something down low.

To see an Osprey egg hatch, water this 2015 Video from the Audubon’s Osprey cam.  The other two chicks in the video would be approximately 3-4 days and 6-8 days old.  You will enjoy it.

In the meantime, Beau has been busy with his parental chores:

Beau has been bringing Bella food….

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Here Bella is already screaming for the fish as Beau brings it in.


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Bella is quite loud as she demands the fish.


Beau frantically releases the fish and Bella snatches it.


Bella immediately takes flight with her meal.


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Bella flies over to the other side of the creek and….


Up to one of her favorite perches to enjoy her meal, all while in perfect view of her nest.


Beau has been bringing nesting materials….

Beau delivering nesting materials to the nest, yes, even in the rain


Lots of soft nesting cup materials too.  The left nest is dated 5/17/18, the right is 5/19/18.


And Beau has been protecting the nest.  If you are another Osprey, Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, Cormorant, or Great Blue Heron, it would be best if you do not try to fly over or swim in the vicinity of Bella & Beau’s nest.  A possible attack will occur!

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Beau giving a warning in the rain to a passerby.


By late afternoon, the clouds were breaking apart and the sun started shining.  The upcoming week’s forecast promised better weather, with little rain.  It’s been a tough several days for Bella & Beau, but all seemed good when the sun was setting over Bella.

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Sun setting over Cambridge Creek and Bella & Beau’s osprey nest – 5/19/18


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Bella at sunset.


Much of above was already written yesterday, but I wasn’t able to finish last night.  I had a few hours this morning before my day out, so I took a few more photos to share some more interesting action.

Bella is looking and seems to be interested with something.


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Bella and Beau taking a look, probably wondering, now what?


Here’s a few final photos of some more profile favorites I’ve not yet shared I think you will enjoy.

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Bella standing while Beau is incubating.


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Bella incubating while Beau is perched.


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Beau incubating.


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Bella is incubating while Beau is perched.


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Bella & Beau


One more thing, I had a request to make a Page Tab at the top of my blog to make it easier to find all the posts on Bella & Beau, and so created a Page Tab “2018 Osprey Bella & Beau” under the photo header.  All posts on Bella & Beau are accumulating here for easier access to a previous post if this helps anyone else.

As for Bella & Beau, fingers crossed for a great week for them.


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



35 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2018: No Firm News Yet

  1. I feel some concern with the weather, but happy to see Beau bring soft nesting material, as if they are getting tips from the bird community. It is an exciting wait. I do enjoy how Ospreys work as a team.

    • With the activity to date, the pair does show they are young and inexperienced. But I think this pair has come a long way since March. This year will gain them both experience on working as a team. If they become parents, they’ll really gain some experience! 🙂

  2. More wonderful images and description of the Osprey nesting behaviors, Donna, and the nest at sunset is a real beauty! I hope Beau continues to bring nesting material–still looking a little skimpy.

    • Thanks Ellen! Beau gets gun-ho on bringing nesting materials first thing in the morning. He then fizzles out….. I want to go down to the dock and toss up the sticks on it to them and say “catch & place”. LOL

  3. What a wonderful sequence. I really ‘hurt’ for the poor parents as I saw them drenched by the rain in your pictures. I’m so glad that the strong wind and rain storms didn’t dislodge their nest. We had two heron nests disappear after three nights of severe thunderstorms last week on Kent Island. Luckily a third one, with two chicks, survived. Being a successful parent isn’t easy!!!

    • Thank you, Susan. Yes, what a life out in the elements like that. I felt bad for them too, especially during the onslaught of a t-storm. I think they lost some sticks but did otherwise okay. So sad to hear two heron nests were lost during all that foul weather, but glad a third one nest did survive. Come on Mother Nature, go easy on our wildlife, it’s tough enough as it is!

  4. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate with other natural processes, like in this case with raining when they are trying to keep a crucial temperature for incubation. I just wish them the best! Your illustration photos are indeed very, very good! You have a wonderful point of shooting being at an advantage level from your home. Thank you for this wonderful post Donna! 🙂

    • You’re welcome, HJ, I am glad you are enjoying their life. I have been worrying for these last several days when it was just beyond soggy here. Bella was strong and rarely left the nest, it was like she knew she needed to stay put and keep those eggs as dry and warm as possible. For sure, this has been entertaining and nail-biting for me, lol. Thank you for your knowledgeable comments, HJ, always appreciated! 🙂

  5. I sure would hate to be a bird sitting on a nest in the rotten weather that you’ve had there. I really liked the images shot towards sunset with the golden light, but all of your photos tell the story of this pair of osprey and what they’re going through very well.

  6. Thanks for creating the page tab so we can revisit the developments at will! You’ve done a marvelous job of showing them off.

  7. Absolutely wonderful documentation, Donna! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful struggle with the elements and the growing bonds of the pair. Most of us feel lucky to see an osprey nest but we never get to see the whole story. Just incredible. I’m running out of adjectives… and eager to see what happens next!

    • Awwww….thank you very much, Lisa. I can tell you what, they have become part of my life. lol Quite entertaining and relaxing….except right now with the worry of any hatchings. But with hope and luck, maybe we’ll have a chick to watch grow. 🙂

  8. Donna, your photos are outstanding as is the commentary! Let’s hope for some decent weather in the very near future. It’s been pretty rainy here in Pa also.

  9. I feel so sorry for the pair in that wet weather, it must be tough for them, but it certainly is exciting to think that perhaps there is a little chick you might see anyday now. Fingers crossed!

    • I really felt bad for the pair in the pouring rains too. That nest was beyond soaked. What wildlife goes through to survive is amazing. Yes, fingers crossed! I am still seeing something going on. 🙂

  10. I’m loving being able to relate the bird behaviour to similar behaviours in humans. Love that Bella actually screamed at Beau for dawdling in the delivery of her meal. So funny. I’m behind in my blog reading so am dying to see if the chick/s have emerged yet. So exciting!

    • How fun to watch the birds’ character and personalities shine when you watch them on a daily basis. I love when Beau puts a stick a certain way, then Bella will move it, not where she wants it. lol I still have no solid news BUT something is going on in the nest cup! 🙂

  11. That nest built for the Ospreys seems flimsy compared to those at Edwin B Forsythe NWR. The nest walls at EBF are higher and allows the Ospreys to stack more branches without worrying about the wind blowing them away.

    • Yes, it is quite flimsy. It shows this Osprey pair are young and very inexperienced. They are trying by instinct. I’ll have to show another photo of the dock below the nest with all the sticks that have fallen. It’s like Home Depot at your doorstep! If they would just pick them up, the nest would be twice the size instantly.

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