Bella & Beau 2018: Bella Is Gone, Leaving Beau With His Talons Full

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

September 3, 2018

As is customary in mid to late August with the female adult Osprey breeders in our area, Bella has left for her tropical winter vacation in South America!  Bon voyage, Bella!

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Bella in flight.


My last sightings and photos of Bella were those shared in my previous post.  Unfortunately, I had to be gone most of the next day.  As soon as I returned, I kept an eye on all of her favorite perches and have not seen her since.

As a tribute to beautiful Bella and her determination, strong-will, love, and devotion to her mate, Beau, and two healthy chicks, I do have a series of photos from the past weeks I didn’t get to previously share.

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Bella enroute to the nest platform with a fish.


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Bella’s beautiful wings.


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Bella enroute to the nest platform with another fish.


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Bella departs with a fish because she is worried about an overhead intruder Osprey.


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Another Bella with a fish!


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Bella was a great fish provider!


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Bella giving me a stare down while those talons twitch.  Yikes!


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Bella enjoying her home alone after the chicks had fledged.


It was always a joy to see Bella dive and take a bath.

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Bella diving for the bath.


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Splish, splash, Bella takes a bath!


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Bella bathing.


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Bella bathing.


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Bella bathing.


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After the bath is done, Bella pulls herself up out of the water.


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A refreshed, clean Bella!


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Bella protecting her chicks.


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Bella and her two chicks.


Dad Beau is still here for possibly another 2-3 weeks, remaining until the last of the two OspreyTeens leaves for migration.  He’s left with keeping an eye on the OspreyTeens and supplying them fish until they’ve mastered the skill of catching their own fish.  I’m still repeating that as those OspreyTeens are still great at begging.  They best get to the task of learning to catch for themselves!

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Beau in flight.


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Beau delivering a fish at sunrise.


The OspreyTeens aggressively trying to grab the fish from Beau.


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Beau saying, “Argh, Teenagers!”


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Sunrise begging (and Donna’s alarm clock).


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One OspreyTeen still begging while the other OspreyTeen enjoys its meal.


Sunset begging.


OspreyTeen protecting his meal while keeping watch on an overhead intruder.


Poor Beau, I see him perched on the crane or tower alone for hours.  I wonder if Beau feels a loss with Bella’s departure.  Do they communicate a goodbye before the split?  Beau will not see Bella again until March 2019.  Osprey mate for life, but they do not migrate or winter together.

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Beau perched on the crane, looking off into the distance.


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Beau perched on the tower.


Did you know that the Osprey species underwent a massive decline years ago and could have been wiped out of existence?  The United States Osprey populations are still slowly recovering since the 1960-70’s, when widespread use of the pesticide DDT caused the species to decline.

“Like many birds of prey, the Osprey suffered during the 60s and 70s due to the rampant use of DDT and other dangerous pesticides. Research done at Maryland’s Patuxent Research Refuge was used in Rachel Carson’s classic “Silent Spring,” and alerted citizens, scientists, and politicians to the fact that DDT was harming bird populations. Patuxent’s scientists discovered that DDT was working its way up the food chain and thinning the eggshells of raptors. Fortunately, DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, and thanks to the hard work of many dedicated people, birds of prey are beginning to rebound.”  Courtesy of Friends of Blackwater NWR website

Today the Chesapeake Bay region provides nesting to approximately 25% of all the Osprey in the United States.  Bella, Beau and the OspreyTeens are part of that percent!

I’m hoping the next week brings photos of the OspreyTeens arriving at the nest platform, with wet feathers and a fish in their talons.

Have a great week and wish Bella a safe journey to South America!


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“I’ll see you again in March!” (Bella)


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



46 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2018: Bella Is Gone, Leaving Beau With His Talons Full

  1. All summer you have kept a faithful watch on Bella and her growing family. it probably is sad to see them leave but it is good to hear they all survived the summer and now strong and healthy to fly the long distance to their winter habitat. Maybe next year there will be a return of the family to the same nesting spot. Is there a way to prepare a better nest for their arrival? Thanks for your continued watch and reports.

    • Thank you so much on your comments! I’m a bit sad about Bella leaving, but I am more proud of her and Beau, their devotion and care bringing two more healthy Osprey into our world, even with that sad nest that went non-existence with materials. Who knew Osprey could survive without a nest!

      Next year, Bella and Beau will meet back up right here on the nest platform next March. The OspreyTeens will not return to the Chesapeake area (might not necessarily be right here in Cambridge but should be close by) until March 2020, they stay a 1 1/2 years in South America, developing to full adult and mastering all the skills needed to try to survive there as well as the migration back. As to the platform, there’s nothing much that can be done. Hopefully Bella and Beau’s nest-building skills will improve. Osprey can be quite resilient in building a nest on just about anything if they work hard and stay with it. 🙂

  2. What a great series, although it will be interesting to see how well Beau does with training the teens.I too am already thinking about their return, those are strong instincts to fly all that way to rendezvous and start a new family. Bon voyage, Bella!

    • Thank you, Jane! Beau does have his work cut out to ensure the OTs get all their skills mastered to survive the long trek to SA each alone, and I am sure he will prevail. When the OTs feel the instinct to leave, they should be ready to face and fight all their obstacles as best as they can handle. It’s a tough first year migration for sure.

  3. Another great post Donna 😊 including interesting historical information regarding American Osprey. You have such an extensive collection of beautiful images. You could make a great picture book with. Have a wonderful week😊

    • Thank you, Ashley! Would you believe I’ve taken over 10,000 photos of this Osprey family since April?!! LOL I was always trying to best the day before’s shots to have the best shot I could share of the behavior and I was always trying to capture eye light. I wasn’t always successful, but the challenge sure has been fun. With yours and everyone’s suggestion, I am thinking about doing a book….we’ll see, it sounds overwhelming, I’ve never endeavored something like a book! 😉 Enjoy your week too!

    • Great question and I honestly do not know. Every species I think of, they winter together too. I just tried researching and could not find the answer. 😦 Does anyone else know this answer?

    • Thank you, Stephen! We were just out on our boat and the skies seem a little bit emptier of Osprey. Yep, more and more are leaving every day. It’s been a great season! 🙂

  4. This has been such a fun and enjoyable series of posts on this family of four. I also learned a lot. Interesting that the pair do not migrate together. Great photos as usual.

  5. I wish all of the family a safe trip south and a healthy return next year! It will be sad to not see these updates from you until they do return. These are great images, hard to believe that they were among the “leftovers” that you hadn’t posted earlier. But, I’ll bet that with the osprey in your backyard, you have plenty of leftover photos to share later.

    • Awwww…thank you, Jerry! Would you believe I’ve taken over 10,000 photos since April of this Osprey family?!! 🙂 Many are burst shots, of course, but I was always trying to provide the best of the best each week. And was always worrying I was overloading the post with photos as it was, lol. It’s been fun for sure!

  6. In German, there is a saying that can loosely be translated as “with one smiling, and with one crying eye.” Maybe that summarizes how you feel about Bella’s departure, and the departures that are yet to come. I also wish Bella bon voyage, Donna.

  7. It has been a remarkable season for you and for us followers of the reality blog that you mastered with a great narrative and beautiful pictures. I feel that I’ve been part of the whole story and now I feel sad of Bella departure. It’s natural and instinctive but emotional. Thank you for being my friend Donna. I really appreciate it! 🙂

    • Awwww….thank you, HJ! Bella, Beau and the chicks provided a beautiful story for me to tell. I was hoping I could convey their lives for you and others to feel a part of it too. 🙂 Thank you as well, HJ, for being a great friend all these blogging years we’ve been connected!! ❤

  8. Donna, this has been exceptionally fantastic. You put a lot of work into this and it has been spectacular. Wondering what your next project will be. In any event, it will be a real pleasure to read all about it. Good luck for the future.

    • Awwww…thank you so much, Alix! It’s been unbearably hot & humid these last few weeks; so I am excited for the fall colors and cooler temps, then the birds will come out of hiding. 🙂

  9. Wonderful update! I love the pictures of a bathing Bella! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them in the water other than diving for a fish. Again, thanks for sharing! And DO think about that book!!

    • Thank you, Susan! How lucky that she would dive & bathe right down in front of me, I loved it every time! 🙂 Thinking about a book, it sounds so overwhelming though, lol.

    • With all that smelly fish on those talons and legs, I’d want to bathe too! 😉 I did enjoy watching Bella do it up close this season, it was always at a distance for me in past years. Bella seemed to enjoy bathing like all birds do! 🙂

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