Bella & Beau: Where’s Beau and Fledging is Imminent

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

July 22, 2018

It has now been a total of 14 weeks that Bella & Beau have been providing devoted, continuous care for their brood from incubating the eggs to today’s almost full-grown chicks.  The parents have showed they are young and inexperienced with lacking the skill of nest building, but they have succeeded to date with bringing up a pair of beautiful, healthy chicks.

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Beau leaving the nest platform per Bella’s instruction.

 

Of course, Bella still rules the roost.  Did we think that was going to change?  Ha!

Besides keeping the OspreyTeens away from the nest platform edges, Bella continues to provide her Mombrella shade from the sun and heat.

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Bella’s ‘Mombrella’

 

When Bella says it is time to eat, she goes into a constant-calling mode, demanding Beau to appear with a meal.  I believe the whole creek hears her.

Beau should be delivering about five fish a day to feed Bella and the OspreyTeens now.

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Bella calling Beau for a meal while the OspreyTeens patiently wait.

 

Sometimes I can tell if Beau is perched nearby eating the fish’s head by watching Bella’s direction of call.  She knows if he’s around and will look right at him.

Beau perched on the crane with a fish              Bella demanding Beau deliver that fish

 

Osprey are not choosy with their fish species selection, whatever they can strike within the range of 3 feet from the water’s surface will do.  Did you know Osprey will not eat a dead fish?  Particular, aren’t they!

If for some reason fish are scarce, Osprey will prey on small birds, turtles, frogs, rodents, crustaceans and mollusks like conchs.  There is one recorded instance of an Osprey eating a small alligator.  That last one must have been a fierce tangle between the two before the Osprey won.

Here’s a few images of Beau incoming with a meal.

 

Bella is still quite impatient when taking the fish, while Beau tries to give it to her quickly and get out of the way.  Poor Beau, he always looks a bit bewildered at Bella’s gruffness.

Once she has the fish in her talons, Bella then will chatter at Beau sternly until he leaves the platform before she proceeds to start the feeding.  Maybe she feels it’s over-crowded and not safe.  Or maybe she’s just bossy.

Beau takes this opportunity to clean his talons and legs.

 

Beau skimming the water to clean his talons and legs.

 

Bella feeds the patient OspreyTeens.  They are not yet feeding themselves.  In the second photo, one OspreyTeen curiously watches Beau flying away.  “Where’s Dad going?”

 

Beau does seem to be doing a swell job with fish deliveries.  But where does he go if it’s not time for another meal run and Bella’s sent him off?

To find Beau is like looking for Waldo!  (remember Where’s Waldo? whereswaldo  )  To keep tabs on him myself, I have followed Beau’s flight many times to watch him come to rest on several favorite close perches to watch over the family while Bella feeds herself and the OspreyTeens.  He’ll also use these perches to eat the fish head before delivery, and I imagine he spends the night on any one of them as well.

Some of Beau’s perches that look over the family.

 

Beau even uses the Town of Cambridge’s water tower just behind our neighborhood.

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Beau perching on the Town of Cambridge’s water tower to eat the head of a fish before delivering it to the family.  He can see them perfectly (and hear Bella, of course!), as well as watch for any intruders approaching the area.

 

So how about those OspreyTeens, my how beautiful they’ve grown.  The oldest is nine weeks old, followed by the second at 8-8½ weeks.

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Beautiful OspreyTeens

 

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Beautiful OspreyTeens

 

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Those OspreyTeen wings turned out gorgeous!

 

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No squabbles with these siblings!

 

Another full week of “wingersizing” (wing exercising) has further strengthened the OspreyTeens’ wing muscles.

 

 

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Wingersizing!

After that last flapping, the OspreyTeen fluffed up those feathers!

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“Boy, that feels awesome!  Soon I’ll be flying like Mom & Dad!”

 

With lift-offs happening too, it’s just a matter of time for a fledging to occur.  This next lift-off was the best I’ve seen yet!

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“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…..”

 

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“You better not push me or I’m telling Mom!”

 

I think Bella is ready for her chicks to fly also.  This morning it was windy, and she left the nest for about an hour and perched on a cable on the crane across the creek.  She watched and I could hear her chirping to them, almost as if encouragement.  The OspreyTeens wingersized away!  I watched and waited too.  But no luck today.

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Bella watched from across the creek her OspreyTeens take turns flapping hard and strong for a possible flight.

 

Instead of beautiful sunsets this past week, we had clouds and periods of rain.  It’s humbling watching the precipitation pour down on Bella and the OspreyTeens.

Enduring the rains.

 

This storm wasn’t pleasant at all for the Osprey family.

 

We are in for another week of rain and t-storms, one of which will hit here in about a half hour.

Let’s not worry about that, for now; instead, let’s view one more precious portrait of Bella and her babies.

 

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Momma Bella and her OspreyTeens

I’m expecting next week’s post to give the news we have one, if not two fledgings!  Also some catch up on the still ongoing fierce nest protection, as well as the school of learning the OspreyTeens are going through with Momma Bella.

Until then, enjoy your week and happy flying thoughts!

And a quick add, after I published this post, I got to thinking there was a beautiful sunset this past week…..and here it is!

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Sunset over Cambridge Creek – July 19, 2018

 

 

50 thoughts on “Bella & Beau: Where’s Beau and Fledging is Imminent

  1. Your photos are fantastic! They are such beautiful birds, beautifully captured. They sure look like they want to lift off!!

  2. It’s getting really exciting! I bet you wish you could provide them with some shelter from the storms. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your next post…

  3. Beautiful shots all but my favorite is the last shot by far. If I were you I’d frame that shot Donna! They are definitely a beautiful family! Credit to Beau too! 🙂

  4. Thanks for the update Donna, it’s getting exciting now with anticipation building for the young ones to take their first flight. Can’t wait! 🙂

  5. So glad all is well. Looks like the nesting material is nonexistent at this point. They have done a wonderful job of parenting for newbies. Beautiful photos. That last portrait was gorgeous! The twins are just stunning.

    • Thank you, Kelly! Their feather patterns have just grown so beautiful, it’s amazing to watch such growth on a daily basis. Yea, the non-nesting materials….Bella still attempts to add to it, but the chicks play with it, and then it goes over the side. 😲 Bella has stepped up her game the last couple days on adding, I didn’t get to post about that yet, but then the nest goes back to bare bones. Next post! 🙂

  6. Thoroughly enjoyable post, Donna! Your photos are so detailed and excellent in every way, particularly those of the “babies” and Bella! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Donna, these photos and the story line are fantastic!! So detailed – both story and photos. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been commenting on all of your postings but just realized that I think some of them have been ‘anonymous’ – my mistake! Our osprey pair are a week or two behind yours, but our parents are much more experienced, as ‘our’ nest is quite plush, and the parents are constantly tweaking it, with the young ones pitching in and helping.

    I look forward to the ‘fledged’ photos!

    • Thank you, Susan! I tried to figure out which ‘anonymous’ ones were you, lol. I kept meaning to send you an email! Isn’t it amazing how so different the Osprey’s living quarters can be, both with experience or not, and the ‘platform’ they chose to start a nest. Your Osprey parents have got the deal down, yay! Looking forward to hearing when ‘yours’ fledge too. 🙂

    • Thank you, David, I sure do too. It took a lot of shots, when they keep moving, to get all heads turned and eyes lit with color all at same time. 😉 And it was worth it!

  8. You have beautiful photos here of this handsome family. It is exciting to see them warm up for the first flight. And then what happens? Are the teens on their own, then? Or do they go elsewhere but stay together as a family, continuing to learn to hunt and ha ha, build nests. Will be interesting. We walked on a railway track near a nest and noticed the male kept a close eye on us, when he wasn’t fetching fish.The one in the nest was constantly calling to her mate. It is interesting to see how their talons are at the sides more, perfect for grabbing the fish on each side of its body. A very good documentary.

    • Thank you, Jane! Once they take flight, the OspreyTeens will build their aerial flight control skills for a couple weeks, sometimes out flying and perching elsewhere for hours, but they should continue to return to the nest platform to meet up with Bella to be fed. After a couple weeks, the teens will then start trying to hunt for their own meals because the parents will start refusing to feed them fulltime. The nest platform will always be ‘home port’ until each teen instinctively ups & leaves for migration around early September, heading to the Caribbean or South America for the next 1 1/2 years to continue to learn to live on their own and take care of themselves. Bella & Beau want to continue to ‘own’ the nest platform as theirs with the usual plan to return next March to take control of it again for another season. 🙂

  9. Wonderful post Donna! Your tracking of the family is most comprehensive and the photos are so amazing and crisp. It is most interesting to trace the family development and the stages of the nestlings growth. Have wonderful week!

    • Thank you, Ashley! The story just unfolds before me so nicely. And with Bella’s different calls, that gives me such nice alerts to go out onto the balcony and see what’s happening. Boy, do I love the sunny mornings, the best time to photograph them. 🙂 Have a wonderful week too!

  10. Superb Donna. So what are you going to do after the teens leave? Well you have the sunset and other visitors to entertain your bloggers. Can’t wait for the next chapter. Luck is on your side.

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