Bella & Beau 2019: Two Hungry Teenagers

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

July 13, 2019

Welcome back to Bella & Beau’s Osprey World!  I’ll start off with the 4th of July fireworks that occurred a day after my last post.  The noise did not seem to bother Bella and her family.

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Fireworks over Choptank River – Bella & nest lower left corner


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Fireworks over Choptank River – Bella & nest lower left corner


Both parents have had their work cut out for them with their two steadily growing, hungry ‘teenagers’.

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The teenagers are now going on six weeks old.

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Bella and her two ‘teenagers’


Just over five weeks ago…..they were so tiny.

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Chicks just over a week old


Beau is still temperamental on when he will and will not go for fish for the nest.  The more Bella hollers, the more Beau will ignore her…..until he decides he will make a fishing run.

Beau not responding to Bella’s call for another fish


And then Beau finally gives in.

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Beau in flight


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Beau arriving with a meal


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Bella thinking, “It’s about time!”


Bella is still making an occasional fish run herself when she gives up on Beau, like in this next instance.

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Bella flew to the river and returned quickly with this fish before sunset


Albeit late, Beau did show up three minutes later with a fish for the nest.  When he saw Bella already feeding the chicks, Beau went to the tower to sit and wait with his catch.  It was Bella’s turn to ignore Beau.

Beau with a fish intended for Bella and the chicks


Beau this time responding to Bella’s sunset call for a fish


More of Bella feeding those hungry teenagers


Besides to fish, Bella is leaving the nest more often other times, either to fly around or perch nearby, to give the chicks room to move and exercise those growing wings.

Bella in flight


Chick “wingersizing” is tough with Bella on the nest


“School Time”
Chicks watching Momma Bella fly around the nest


Sometimes Beau still comes to the nest to ‘chick-sit’ until Bella returns.

Beau “chick-sitting” while Bella was away gathering nesting materials


But Beau usually prefers to hang around nearby, keeping watch over Bella and the nest.  If he’s not fending off harassing Osprey intruders, poor Beau has to also deal with the nuisance of Northern Mockingbirds and Barn Swallows.

Beau vs. Northern Mockingbird


The hot and muggy summer days continue.  Bella has a strategy of providing her chicks some shade by creating her “Mombrella”.

Bella’s “Mombrella” for those hot days


Many of those humid days transformed into more late day thunderstorms.

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Chicks alone during a down pour


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When the rain is over, Bella returns to two very wet chicks


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Wet chicks drying out 40 minutes later


Enduring the weather’s elements gets pretty tough at times.  Now that they are older and less vulnerable, Bella will feed the chicks in the rain as well.

Bella feeding during a heavy downpour


It was the gorgeous days that I captured some beautiful shots of Bella and the chicks while riding past in our boat.

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A moment of bonding for Bella and Beau while the chicks nap


Bella and chicks


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Chicks rapidly turning into full grown raptors


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Beautiful Bella


All is good in Bella & Beau’s Osprey World when the bellies are full and the sun goes down.

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We have another successful couple weeks of an Osprey family’s survival and growth, who can ask for more!



58 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Two Hungry Teenagers

  1. Seems to be going well, though I do wonder about their thought process when Beau doesn’t respond to Bella’s calls or what this behaviour is about.I was surprised that Bella didn’t stay in the nest with the chicks when you had that strong rain.Maybe it is their way to make the chicks more independent and get ready for a life on their own.

    • I wonder about Beau too. I hope he isn’t ill and is just being stubborn at times. I think Bella & Beau act like an old married couple at times, ha ha. I’m seeing Bella off the nest a lot now, giving room, and like you said, I think to give the chicks more independency. 🙂

  2. Wow, the babies are growing up so fast! Some beautiful photos there Donna. Bella and Beau must have some gorgeous views from up there. Glad they didn’t seem to be disturbed by the fireworks.

  3. Great photos and it’s great to see them doing so well. But, I’m intrigued, how do you tell Bella and Beau apart? It’s hard to get the pictures side by side on my laptop to ‘spot the difference’, so what are the signs you look for? And I recall you weren’t sure it was the same pair a month or two back, so are you now convinced it is the same two? Might be worth a post?

    • Thank you, Mike! Bella has more brown coloring or ‘speckles’ on her upper chest (also called her ‘necklace’) than Beau. Also I come to ‘know’ this pair and their daily habits, isn’t that crazy?!! In addition, I take A LOT of photos to keep my ‘journal’ accurate.

      You’re right, in the beginning I had my doubts because Beau’s 2018 photos did not match the first male Osprey to arrive this season to the nest. Then fights ensued between two pairs of Osprey over the platform thereafter, and the ‘new’ male & female that won possession now looked like Beau (& Bella) in 2018. So I do believe this year’s Osprey is now the same Bella & Beau as last year. The intruding Osprey that harass Bella & Beau this season I think is that other Osprey pair; they eventually took possession of a cell tower behind the water tower Beau uses as a perch. That pair apparently did not breed successfully this year, so they have time to bother Bella & Beau every day.

      Another sign/clue this is the same Osprey from last season? The darn, pathetic nest! 😲 I’ve never seen a successful Osprey nest for two years in a row be so poor-looking as Bella & Beau’s.

      Whew, I know too much about this Osprey pair! 😊

      • Thanks for the explanation(s) Donna. You are certainly becoming an expert. Oddly, after Jet Eliot’s post on the butterfly lifecycle, I’ve noticed 3 pupae on our wall outside and I’m wondering if they will ‘hatch’ (or whatever the equivalent phrase is) when I’m around (& watching) to take photos. That might be a good series to post. I have 3 opportunities, but the chances of me being ‘at the birth’ is perhaps unlikely.

    • For the next update, I will plan to show side by side comparisons of last year’s and this year’s nests. You’re right, B&B are more pathetic in their nest building than I’ve ever seen in my ten years of Osprey watching. I’ve passed on info/photos to a few Chesapeake Bay area osprey experts, they’ve never seen anything like it as well.

      Oh my, I hope the chicks don’t pick up the bad-nest building habit! 😲

  4. A wonderful series, Donna, with more interesting observations on their behaviors. David’s comment above echos what I was thinking about the nest, and I’m wondering what happened to the stuffed animal. I’ve fallen behind a bit with reading and may have missed if you posted about that. I look forward to seeing your side-by-side nest comparison post.

    I’m amazed that the fireworks didn’t disturb this family. You sure had a nice view for that extravaganza!

    • Thank you, Ellen! Oh my, we lost the toy. 😦 It was blown off during a strong thunderstorm, one storm of many which have also played havoc on destroying the nest as well. I still keep an eye out for the toy in case it’s floating around in the tides. It was fun while it lasted and became a viral hit for several days! 🙂

      • I know that makes us sad, but it sure is tough for water bird parents to raise three. Hopefully the other two have a better chance of survival now. Especially with that haphazard pair leading the way!

  5. Wonderful photos, as always. And I LOVE your fireworks photos with all the lights of the city along the shore. Like you, we have a ‘nestless’ pair of ospreys hanging around our cove, after unsuccessfully attempting nests in four locations – the fourth being our chimney. I’m so glad you were able to join us for photo club night at my house last Tuesday!

    • Thank you, Susan! It was a wonderful evening, getting to see all the club members again. And, of course, getting the opportunity to shoot from your dock made it twice as nice. Thank you for your invitation and hospitality!

  6. You have there, a family that is very united and in good health. Birds have their tempers too, just like people. Beau seems to me, to be a bit reluctant to do things under pressure. He’s more layback and opposite to Bella, she wants things done right away! I’m sure that he means well but under his own terms.
    They all are beautiful and look strong. You are a terrific photographer and editor. Thanks for the wonderful post my friend. 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ! I really do get some good laughs from some of the comical looks and actions between Bella and Beau. Any time watching and getting chuckles from wildlife action is pretty good for the heart and soul! I’m sure you know what I mean, my friend! 😊

  7. Amazing photos as always Donna, but I especially like the one with the facial expressions of Bella and the teens. Looked like one of them was watching the fireworks also in the first pics.

    • Thank you, Ashley! I get my best close-ups when we cruise by the nest on our boat. 🙂 I’ve walked down the dock that the nest platform’s pole is attached to several times to get closeups, but that usually makes Bella start calling alarms and fly, so I don’t like doing that. Bella’s more forgiving of the boats that pass by her, although those raptor eyes really do stare you down! 😲 Yep, that’s Bella perched watching the fireworks, the chicks are laying down, but I bet they have their eyes on the fireworks too, thinking “what the heck is going on?”

    • Thank you, Lisa! I do enjoy watching the nest, we have a set of binoculars on a tripod inside that we look through often when we hear calls or a feeding is going on. I’ve even had to resort most days now to taking photos from inside my slider doors; stepping outside the humidity instantly fogs my lens, and I don’t want to leave my camera outside to acclimate at 95 degrees. Still a lot of fun, and these teens are due to fly in a couple of weeks!

  8. Glorious photos (as always) and the stories behind them make them even more enjoyable. I couldn’t help but smile at the “indignant” look of entitlement that the teenaged chicks appear to have 😀 And the interactions and expressions between Bella and Beau are another treat indeed. I hope you had a happy holiday last week – it seems the Osprey family also enjoyed the fireworks 🙂

    • Thank you, Takami! I love when you ‘get to know’ a specific wildlife species after watching it daily. So much more is observed than what we normally ‘read & see’ in the books. Seeing those expressions and personalities can be fun stuff! 😊

  9. Wow Donna … you got so many wonderful photos. Your documentation Bella, Beau and family is incredible and I enjoyed seeing your excellent fireworks and sunset shots too!

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