Bella & Beau: Good News, Sad News, and Another Nest Attack
(Osprey nest location: Cambridge, Maryland, USA)
June 6, 2018
A lot has happened since last week’s post announcing the arrival of Bella & Beau’s two chicks. The good news it is wonderful to report they are thriving and growing. Look how big they are as of today!
Bella along side their chicks while Beau keeps a lookout for intruders. (6/6/18)
Following my last post and another day of rainy weather, I was looking through my binoculars and had to rub my eyes twice and look again. Was I seeing a third hatchling? Here’s two photos.
Bella and her three chicks.
All three chicks with mouths opened, begging for Bella’s next piece of fish.
I watched Bella feed the three chicks for two days. And then the weather went foul again. For two days it rained, many times it down-poured. It got quite chilly, almost cold.
Bella spread over her chicks while enduring a heavy mid-morning downpour 6/3/18.
Finally the precipitation stopped, and Monday we started drying out. I watched for feedings to get a head count and take more photos to post. Beau was back at work bringing fish to the nest.
Beau delivering a headless fish to the nest. He ate the rest enroute.
Beau delivering another headless fish to the nest.
I watched for three days, and come to the sad news. Unfortunately, there are now only two chicks showing at all the feedings. The third chick possibly succumbed to the torrential rains and cold, or maybe it didn’t get fed during the quick intermittent feedings. Whatever happened….poor baby….
Only two chicks at feeding.
Only two chicks at feedings.
We’ll stay positive for the two healthy chicks, right?!!
Oh boy, that nest. Yes, the size and structure of Bella & Beau’s nest is terrible, showing young Bella & Beau’s inexperience with building. And, it is not for lack of trying! Although the nesting cup seems much improved and now enlarged, the outer walls of the nest seem to lessen more and more.
Nest on 5/29/18. Nest today, 6/6/18.
We now have an even larger pile of sticks on the dock that have fallen off the nest. More goes into the water and float away.
Sticks that have fallen off the nest above.
I did capture Beau attempting to get a little branch that was afloat, but all he got was a nice bath instead. Notice the Barn Swallow photo-bombing the end of the slideshow.
Bella & Beau continue to fiercely protect their family. Besides the intruding local Osprey pair still flying overhead to irritate, Great Blue Herons keep coming around. All are quickly chased away.
And then today I watched a second attack on Bella & Beau’s nest, this time from a Bald Eagle. I was horrified.
Bald Eagle flying down towards Bella & Beau’s nest.
Beau saw the incoming Eagle and takes flight. Bella was feeding the chicks and looks up at the Eagle, starts screaming, and also took flight.
I was shocked Bella left the nest. A chick is sitting up, looking around at all the commotion.
I watched in horror as the Eagle swooped down to the nest, and I know I screamed. Beau dove at the Eagle at lightning speed, thwarting the Eagle’s direction, missing the nest.
Beau upper left corner after attacking Eagle. thwarting his attack on the nest.
The Bald Eagle circles around for another attack!
Another swoop down to the nest! I heard myself scream again, “NOOOOO!” Both Beau and Bella were right behind the Eagle, and the Eagle turned away again from their attacks.
An angry Eagle not getting a chance to attack the nest.
Bella landed back on the nest to better guard it.
Meanwhile, Beau stays on the Eagle, forcing him out of the area.
I watched Beau chase that Eagle until I could no longer see either of them. Now I was worried. Did the Eagle actually grab a chick and Beau knew it? I grabbed my binoculars and looked at the nest. Whew, both chicks were accounted for!
I feel for Bella and Beau. They are both exhausted as it is, and then have to fight for theirs and their chicks’ lives. In this next photo, I captured where Bella didn’t even wake up to Beau arriving with a fish. Beau stayed in place with it to wait until Bella was ready. He then fell asleep too.
Two exhausted parents.
After a beautiful today, clouds moved in for the evening as the sun was setting. I checked on the family and found the two chicks sitting up, looking around. They are growing like weeds. The oldest chick is now about 2 1/2 weeks old and the second about 2 weeks old.
Bella preening while her two chicks take a glimpse at their new world.
At sunset, the sun blazed the horizon, ending a chaotic day. I hope we don’t have too many more days like this one.
Bella & Beau’s nest platform is to the far right over the water in the photo.
I’m slipping in another sunset shot from the day before, it was too pretty not to share. 🙂
Bella & Beau’s nest platform is to the far right in the photo. Beau is perched on it in this one while Bella broods the chicks.
We have two upcoming gorgeous days, followed by a weekend of nasty weather again. All this is the daily life of the Osprey.