Bella & Beau 2019: Teens Have Names

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

August 17, 2019

We have names for Bella & Beau’s two chicks!  They are…..  (drum roll)

Brad and Bonita!  Congratulations to HJ (Avian 101) for his winning suggestions!  Thank you all who joined the fun and gave suggestions in both the comments section and via email, there were so many awesome names!

So let’s meet the ‘teens’ again, properly now….

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Beautiful Bonita (oldest, female)

 

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Handsome Brad (youngest, male)

 

The nest platform is empty many hours throughout the day.  But it is still home and the ‘dining room’ for the teens.  When they are not out and about, practicing their flying maneuvers and dives, Bonita and Brad are on the platform, begging.  Beg, beg, beg.  Loudly.  Sometimes for an hour or more, until Bella or Beau brings them a fish.

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“Feed Me!”

 

Perched nearby still watching over the teens, Bella and Beau are good at ignoring their loud begging.  When they feel it’s time, one will bring in another fish to the platform.  I see Beau delivering the majority of the meals.  The parents will be or should have already begun delaying fish deliveries to try to entice the teens to try to fish for themselves.

Beau’s drop-&-go meal for Brad

 

Beau delivering a fish to Bonita

 

Brad begging for a fish from Momma Bella

 

When Bonita and Brad on both on the platform waiting for a fish, it is a toss-up on who gets the fish when it arrives.  Bonita used to be the aggressive one and ultimate winner, but now Brad can stand his own against her.

Bonita trying to take a fish from Brad

 

Bonita trying to intimidate Brad with her size

 

Yep, Brad can stand up to big sis, but I’ve seen him get nervous when he is alone on the platform with a meal and other birds or people are nearby.  He will take flight with his fish and go to a pole across the creek to finish it.

Incoming Canada Geese make Brad nervous with his meal

 

I love when a meal is done and the teens skim the water to clean their talons.  They really look like they enjoying doing this.

Bonita cleaning her talons

 

When an Osprey takes flight after a dive or skimming, they will do a midair shake-off like a dog.  I finally got a great shot of this!

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Bonita shaking off water

 

The weather has remained hot, with little reprieve.  We did luck out with some rain, albeit heavy, little over a week ago.

The rain drops are just beginning to fall on Bonita (nest) and Brad (sailmast)

 

Then the downpour, as Brad tries to get back to the platform in the wind

 

I’m not sure if this was an accident or on purpose.  Bonita was returning to the platform, it appeared she was going to land on a branch sticking out of the nest.  Of course, it failed to hold her and she went back into flight…..with the branch in her talons!  She circled and returned with it to the nest platform.

Bonita and a nest branch – accident or on purpose?

 

Another instance with Brad’s nervousness, a stand-up paddler scooted by the platform.  Brad immediately alarmed and took flight, returning only after the paddler had passed well on by.

A stand-up paddler passing by the platform put nervous Brad in the air; he returned only after the paddler was well past the platform.

 

I am seeing less and less of Bella.  In our region, it is the norm for the adult female to leave first for migration mid to late August, leaving her mate behind to continue to assist their offspring with meals and fishing lessons to prepare for their departure as well a few weeks later.  Last year, my last sighting of Bella was August 28th.  So we know the time is near.  Bella will feel an instinct, and suddenly be gone.

Family Time

 

Bella in flight                                                                Beau in flight

 

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Bella and Beau spending time together

 

Staying upbeat, let’s enjoy the rest of these photos from the past couple weeks.

Brad’s gorgeous wings

 

Can you say you’ve seen an Osprey in the same frame as an ambulance?

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Bonita and Brad at sunset
(Now you can!)

 

Random gallery

 

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After sunset, all is calm
(nest platform end of dock, just right of center foreground sailboat mast)

 

 

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