Bella & Beau 2019: Nest Guard-Duty and Attacking Intruders

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

April 9, 2019

As remarkably adaptable birds of prey, Ospreys can be found on every continent except Antarctica; but they have a special attraction for the Chesapeake Bay, where it is estimated to host over 10,000 pairs.  Nowhere else on the planet is there a larger breeding population.

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Bella & Beau


At my last posting, I was coming down with what became the flu.  I feel for anyone that had it this season, I’m still trying to recover my strength.

And while I tried to improve, I could hear the constant commotion of Osprey outside my windows.  Bella & Beau were at battle with several other pairs of Osprey early in the week, trying to keep control of their home.

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Bella & Beau in defense stance, warning overhead Osprey


The attacks were fierce and intense.  I watched in horror two different times an intruding female Osprey knock Bella off the nest platform and into the water.  One of the times, she recouped immediately and chased the intruder down, knocking it to the water as retaliation.  Bella got a smile out of me then.

I really wasn’t feeling well for photo ops, but did try a couple times.  Photos bad but give the gist of the action!

Bella trying to defend her nest


Bella knocked off her nest


Beau chasing an intruding Osprey


The growing nest itself suffered in the attacks.  Sticks got knocked off from quick take-offs and hard landings.

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Bella (right) & Beau (left) with much of the nest lost


Thankfully, the area Osprey intruders have settled down with the harassment.  I’ve done a quick survey of the area and know of five other Osprey nests that are being built within a mile’s vicinity.  It seems Bella & Beau’s platform was prime, but the others have settled for what they have (cell tower, two building tops, a crane, and another platform).

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Bella & Beau with a new growing nest


Bella has become more of the homebody again, protecting her home.

Beau, in the meantime, worked hard in bringing more sticks and nesting materials, trying to keep the nest built.


Beau busy delivering nesting materials


Beau off to get more nesting materials


Bella watching Beau making the deliveries



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Beau delivering a rather large stick.


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“Where do you want it, Bella?” Beau asks as he whacks her with it.


My goodness, with all that action of attacks and nest rebuilding, Bella & Beau were still able to squeeze in mating time.  Yes, their instinct is very strong, and time is of the essence for the season.  Last year, Bella laid her first egg around April 17th.

Bella & Beau mating


The deed is quick with Beau usually taking flight to retrieve another stick or a bit later with a headless snack for Bella to devour.

Beau delivers a fish to Bella


What a week!  I was able to finish it out with several beautiful flight shots of both Bella and Beau.

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Bella in flight


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Bella “close-up”


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Beautiful Bella


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Bella in flight


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Beau in flight


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Beau “close-up”


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Beau in flight


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Beau “close-up” with his third semi-transparent eyelid (called a nictitating membrane) acting as a goggle


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“Beau cruisin’ on by”


And some of my last shots to end this update…..

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“The Happy Couple”


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Beau taking flight


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Bella on nest guard-duty – the last photo of the nest to date


I am glad the week ended on a good note that all seems back to normal with the usual antics of an Osprey’s daily life.


Note:  The majority of my photos for the Bella & Beau 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:  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!



55 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Nest Guard-Duty and Attacking Intruders

  1. Beautiful photos as always, Donna! I look forward to another season with Bella and Beau. I hope your feeling better Donna! 🙏🏻😎

  2. Very beautiful and very informative Donna, a picture book on the life of the Osprey. Praying that you fully recover from the bout of flue, it can be very debilitating and painful.

    • Thank you, Ashley! The Osprey do not stop entertaining, even when I am down. 🙂 Feeling so much better, it’d been years since we both had the flu, it was rough. We’re now trying to regain our strength, my goodness!

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your bout with the flu. Good thing that you’ve recovered enough to document the events on the toughest da back from the ospreys had since their arrival to Cambridge.
    Just like in the movies… There’s chase, fight with the enemy, home destruction and it couldn’t be complete without some sex of the protagonists. Tell if I’m wrong!
    Loved your post, my friend, good work! Take care… 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ, I am feeling much better! Holy Toledo, just watching all the action from the couch wore me out. lol You are definitely right, HJ, their daily life is action-packed movie-style! 🙂 Thanks again, my friend!

    • Thank you, Deborah, on the mend, thank goodness! Poor Bella, I did worry if she was getting hurt, but she did prevail with some good hits back, she’s a fierce fighter for what is hers!

    • Thank you, Eliza! Bird breeding & home-making is business and stress for sure, this year more than I’ve ever seen in other years. I love how awesome Bella is, she’s one tough lady!

  4. Donna, this is a wonderful series. And oh, the drama. I can relate to it as our Barney and Betty have been challenged by another pair that have also tried making a nest on two different neighbor’s boats. The noise of a group of ospreys having a territorial battle is really something. I think our original pair are back on the nest, but oh boy, it is hard to watch. We get all caught up in it , don’t we! I love your series. I’m still waiting for your book on Bella and Beau! 🙂

    • Thank you, Susan! I knew you could relate, but oh no, even Betty & Barney having challenges too! 😲 You can’t help hear them defending the intruders, and, yes, we get caught up in the drama! 😉

  5. Hello Donna,
    I am sorry to hear you had the flu! I do hope you’re feeling better, and have allowed plenty of rest/recovery time.
    It looks like Bella and Beau have been very busy too. I’m glad they’re both in one piece, and hopefully there will be more good news in the coming days/weeks. Take care ❤

    • Thank you, Takami, for your well wishes, I am feeling so much better!

      My oh my, Bella & Beau have been busy, they must have tremendous strength with all the challenges from the intruders. I’m glad things settled down some, so they can now hopefully bring us happy news soon! 😊

      • Very happy to hear you are feeling better. Please do continue to try and take it easy this weekend! Although I imagine that may be challenging since it’s exciting times fore Bella and Beau 😉 Bella is a strong bird ❤

  6. Gee whiz, that Bella’s a hard task master. Next time my friend’s husband accuses her of nagging I’m going to tell him to just be thankful he’s not an osprey. I do hope you’re feeling better soon Donna.

    • Thank you, Brian! Bella & Beau keep up the entertainment, that’s for sure. And Beau, well, I had thought he had taken some architect classes over the winter, but the intruders have sure made it hard on his building skills! 😉

  7. Once again, great shots! I love the reflection shot of Beau grabbing the stick from the water.
    and dang, who needs reality tv when you have such action to watch!

  8. I continue to be amazed at your Osprey photos! I don’t think anyone else comes close to what you have displayed on this blog.

    Sorry about that flu! Hope you will be back in full form soon.

  9. We romanticize nature so much that it is a rude awakening when witnessing how vicious it can get while guarding territory. I literally laughed out loud at the last shot of the nest-it’s got to be them! … also laughed at the commentary, “Where do you want it, Bella?” Beau asks as he whacks her with it.” great shots here with both close-up and wider views. Get well soon, Donna, hope you are well on the way to recovery by now.

    • Very well said, Jane, on our rude awakenings at times! I do love too seeing their personalities and the looks thrown, sometimes they can be quite comical and so real as in real life marriages, lol. I’m feeling much more back to norm now, thank you for your thoughts and wishes!

  10. Great that B & B were able to defend their home in prime location! And happy to hear that everyone has now settled down. Wonderful pictures, Donna!

    • Thank you, Helen! It has been so quiet this past week, it’s had to have been a relief to both B&B, it was for me! Mating again today, geez, I don’t know how they keep that up, but at least chicks can be a possibility! 😉

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