Bella & Beau 2019: Nest Building and Safeguarding

Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Region, USA

March 31, 2019

The past week continued with Bella & Beau rekindling their bond.  The instinct to breed is strong and mating is often.

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Lovebirds Bella (left) and Beau (right)


We left off on the last post with just a few small sticks laying in Bella & Beau’s nest platform.  Home building has picked up pace considerably. Beau seems to be proving his nest building skills are better this year.

At first, Beau was the only one retrieving nesting materials.  Bella remained perched on the platform, either watching or ignoring him, even making demands for more.  But Beau didn’t take it to heart and kept at it.  Maybe his lady was still recovering from the long flight and any obstacles she had just endured before arriving a week ago.

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Beau delivering nesting materials


“And that’s how it’s done!”
Beau landing with a big stick while Bella watches


Bella demanding more sticks and Beau takes off


Beau going for more nesting materials.


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Beau picking up a stick in the parking lot across the street


Beau even began rearranging the sticks.  Bella just watched.

Beau rearranging the nest


After delivering so much, Beau would push his body down onto the nesting materials in the center, mashing them.  He was creating the base for the egg cup.

Beau mashing and breaking nesting materials apart to form a soft egg cup


By mid-week, Bella was ready and started retrieving nesting materials, as well as taking over the job of arranging the home.  It was now a joint effort!








This past week has brought many more returning Osprey to the Chesapeake Bay region.  In 2017, there were approximately 10,000 pairs of Osprey here.  That means good nesting locations are prime.

Bella & Beau’s platform has been attracting Osprey, keeping them both on alert for intruders, squatters, or even another Osprey looking for a mate.

The harassments and chases are daily.  Even a few platform attacks have occurred, but no one appeared injured.

Intruding Osprey attacking Bella at the nest


Another intruder was a pair of Fish Crows who perched on the empty platform.  Bella came out of nowhere and landed, while the crows flew.  They circled around and started harassing Bella.  Harmless and more an annoyance, Bella ignored them.  But finally, she made some threatening calls and both crows took off.  Who knew Bella could speak crow?

Fish Crows harrassing Bella


Finally, some flight shots of Bella & Beau.





Bella in flight with a fish on a cloudy day


Wow, what a week and how about that nest!   Go Beau!!


Note:  The majority of my photos for this series are shot from my balcony about 200+ feet where I’ve got just enough advantage height to reach into the top of the platform.  My equipment is a Nikon D200 and D750, with a Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 lens combined with a Nikon Teleconverter (1.7x magnification), zooming all the way in.  At photo processing, it is then necessary to crop at least 50% to share close-ups with you.  The Bella & Beau series is not so much about high-quality photos (although I seriously strive to get the best, detailed shots for the storyline), as it is about the antics and adventures of an Osprey pair’s daily life.  It is also my hope you will learn a little bit about the amazing Osprey and enjoy following along!



59 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Nest Building and Safeguarding

  1. No doubt that this couple have been real busy, apparently they are giving it the last touches. They want a sturdy and lasting nest for the future babies. You’ve done a great job with the camera, Donna. 🙂

  2. Wow! So many photos, each one so well captured! They should give everyone a very enjoyable taste of what it is like building an Osprey nest, one stick at a time.

  3. So cool they’re back again. I enjoy your chronicle. I’ve noticed a male bringing in a stick. As soon as as he left for another the female inspected it and kicked it overboard. Very picky.

  4. Their nest already looks to be better than last years little platform of sticks. Is two the usual number of chicks in a season, or can they have more. Maybe they’re anticipating a bigger brood this year. I hope the bigger nest doesn’t provide a bigger surface for the wind to catch it. I seem to remember some wild weather last year.

    • The nest’s been lookin’ good! A lot of soft stuff has been brought for the nesting cup which is awesome. Broods average 1-2 per nest, but there can be 3 or 4! The difficult part is a 3rd and 4th surviving, if food is scarce or bad weather. B&B had 3 chicks last year, one did not survive the cold, rainy weather that pounded them. Last year, we did find a nest along another creek by boat with 3 chicks, all growing large and healthy, they were gorgeous! If B&B can entwine the sticks well enough, it’s amazing how strong the nest can be. Let’s hope for not so wild weather this season, Chris!!

  5. Thank you for the nest building photos, Donna. This is fascinating to watch on Donna-time and getting to see the nest grow is almost like being there. Along with Bella’s crow speaking talent and Beau’s engineering skills, I wish one of them could do a big sign for the nest platform that says: “Nest Occupied. No one else need try.” Interlopers make me nervous! hugs, Beth

    • Thank you, Jane! The Osprey certainly entertain and provide for some fun times. I love this awesome lens, and my teleconverter does work nice with it. Now if only I could get closer! 😉

  6. Wonderful collection of nest building pictures, Donna!! Really enjoyed seeing the progress. I missed all that here at home due to so much work this spring….but now we have at least one hatchling 🙂

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