Bella & Beau 2019: It’s School Time
Osprey nest location: Cambridge, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Region, USA
July 24, 2019 – #1
The past couple weeks’ have really heated up the Chesapeake Bay mid-Atlantic region, with temperatures reaching the 100’s°F (38°C). To make matters worse, the high humidity created very muggy days feeling like 110-115°F (43-46°C). Ugh.
Bella, Beau, and the two ‘teens’ have felt it too.
It’s hot, hot, hot!
Bella & Beau are lucky, they can dive into the water to clean and refresh themselves.
Bella taking a refreshing bath
Bella lifting herself out of the water with ease
Bella landing back on the nest with the ‘teens’ paying attention
With the number of huge fish I seen delivered to the nest by both Bella & Beau, I know they are getting their bellies filled quite well. Bella has even allowed the teens to feed themselves on smaller, leftover portions.
Beau delivers a sunset meal
The ‘teens’ are now 7 and 7 1/2 weeks old. When they’re not eating or napping, they spend a lot of time preening those gorgeous feathers.
Preening their beautiful feathers
Preening and waterproofing their feathers constantly is important to keep the Osprey’s feathers from getting saturated when submerged. Osprey secrete a pungent, oily substance from a preen gland at the base of their tail that they spread all over their feathers for that waterproofing purpose, allowing easy lift-outs from water.
Days are long sitting on a nest 24/7. So the teens also have plenty of time in paying attention to the world around them.
The teens have the instinct to learn and have daily ‘school time’ with Mom & Dad. The parents give flight and landing lessons. The teens watch in earnest.
The teens watch Mom Bella flying above
Mom Bella circling the nest, and watching the chicks
Teens watching Mom Bella fly during another teaching lesson
These past muggy days have produced little winds, yet the ‘teens’ are still working hard on exercising their almost fully-grown wings. They’re now braver with hops, jumps, and lift-offs occurring.
With talons fully gripped, strong flaps develop wing strength
We have lift-off!
Not good when both ‘teens’ try to exercise at the same time!
Last year, the nest’s two chicks fledged July 24 and 27, respectively. So fledgling is now imminent, how exciting!
Well, we all thought it appeared Bella & Beau had better nest building skills this year; but they halted for so long the past month, the nest has been slowly dismantling and falling piece by piece into the water or on the dock.
Sticks that have fallen from the nest due to storms and hard landings
As promised, here’s a nest comparison of last year’s and this year’s at this week. So it’s a little better…..
Nest 2018 Nest 2019
Bella has started back up bringing nesting materials, but I think it’s a bit too late at this point to corral the ‘teens’.
Bella delivering a stick to the nest this morning
‘Teens’ watching Mom Bella with stick delivery and placement
(Maybe now Bella is teaching the ‘teens’ on nest building?)
I don’t know what to make of such a poorly built nest two years in a row. No matter the size though, it is now a houseful when all four Osprey are on the platform.
Beau doesn’t stay long though, he’s usually given words by Bella to leave. She, herself, is also spending more time off the nest, giving the teens plenty of space to exercise those wings.
Yesterday, our area finally had a reprieve from the intense heat with showers most of the day. It must have felt good to the ‘teens’. This morning, the air is cool with temps in the 70sF with brisk winds. The ‘teens’ are flapping away!
I’ll end with some galleries of some fave photos from the past week for your enjoyment.
Bella’s very sharp talons
Bella in flight
Beau in flight
Bella watching over two sleeping ‘teens’
Boating by Bella and her ‘teens’ at sunset
Bella looking at her waking ‘babies’ during a hot & hazy sunrise
Happy and full during a hot & muggy sunset
Nest silhouetted on right over creek reflections at sunset
P.S. A reminder, if you’re wishing to quickly jump from post to post within the Bella & Beau 2019 series to catch up or revisit, there is a TAB for them at the top of this page under the header photo that you can click on for easy access in date order.