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….

DSC_9352-2 81119

Beautiful Bonita (oldest, female)


DSC_8739-1 8619 mc

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.

DSC_9676-1 81719

“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!

DSC_8759-1 8619 mc

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


DSC_7651-1 8319

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?

DSC_8998-1 8819

Bonita and Brad at sunset
(Now you can!)


Random gallery


DSC_6409-1 81319

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



41 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Teens Have Names

    • Thank you, Chris! It is pretty at night, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, very relaxing. For now I’m always looking, wondering where they are all perched, and trying my best to sight Bella ‘one more time’. Soon I’ll be feeling a pang of emptiness……but new birds will arrive and I’ll get over it! 🙂

    • Thank you very much! I love Osprey and enjoy sharing ‘the best’ of what I see daily. We’re lucky to have such a huge breeding population around the Chesapeake Bay. 😊

  1. Beautiful photos and story! Much the same is happening with our trio of juveniles. It will be sad to see the parents leave,but you have given us wonderful photos and memories of another season of Bella and Beau. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Susan! I am very happy all three of your chicks survived! That is a feat in itself, living on such a small nest space for months, growing big so quickly, all trying to get enough to eat, and all survive the spring wind/storms. Yes, you and I will miss their beauty and noise, it always seems eerily quiet for a while once they’ve migrated, doesn’t it?!

  2. Another great series Donna. I love the lighting in the last photo. I think it was instinct that Bonita held onto the branch, that and the fact that even she can see they can’t afford to lose even one stick from the nest. 🙂

  3. I like the names, still in the “B”s and Bonita fits with her Mom’s name as well as Brad’s. enjoyed the photos of the teens, they look different, and I like their feathers.That is a great photo of Bonita shaking off the water. Wonder where the offspring go next year, I would think that they return to where they were born but not necessarily so. I was sick this weekend and missed my usual trip – the next time I go to my favourite spot wonder who will be there?Going to be rather quiet and sad. It was only 3 degrees Celsius the other night and frost warnings in the northeast of the province-never really had much of a summer though would not want the crazy heat that some had.

    • Thank you, Jane! When Bonita and Brad leave for migration to South America in a couple weeks, they will remain there all of next year 2020, fishing and learning to take care of themselves. Then in late February/early March 2021, they will get the instinct to return ‘home’ to their birth grounds. They may not return to the same ‘local’ area, but they general return to the same region. Hence, Bonita and Brad should return to the Chesapeake Bay region March 2021 to live for the summer. It will be another couple years before either are ready to find a mate and breed.

      Hope you’re feeling better, Jane, sorry you missed your weekend trip. 😦 It’ll be interesting to see what you find when you do return. Fingers crossed for some good news!

  4. Oh, what a surprise! I feel like I’m part of this family! Thank you, Donna! Your post today shows perfectly the behavior of the parents approaching the day when they will separate at the moment of migration. Then, you have their teens rehearsing flight moves, hygiene, building their future nests, etc. They all are into the preparation mode before migration. It will be an emotional moment to see them depart but at the same time a happy moment that they will define their own future and follow the prime directive of Nature. I’m happy to have been part of such a lovely story! 🙂 ❤

    • Congratulatons, Osprey Uncle HJ! 😉
      (does this make me Osprey Grandma? lol)

      Thank you, HJ! I was fretting yesterday that I hadn’t seen Bella for a couple days, and then last night early evening, I saw both her and Beau on their regular perches and felt a bit of relief, lol. I know Bella’s going any day, it seems now she has passed on the reins, letting Beau take over the care of the teens. I was thinking just what you said, that she’s in migration prep mode, building her reserves of strength for the long flight. 🙂

  5. Amazing footage as per usual Donna, thee birds are certainly part of your daily life, and a wonderful study of our Lord’s provision for his creatures through the faithful dedication of the parents to the needs of their offspring. I guess as they prepare for the incoming change of seasons things will get a little quiet soon on the nest platform, though the youngsters still need to get fishing down pat. I have seen parent White-bellied Sea-Eagles spend weeks trying to train one fledgling to hunt its own food, but it refused, and complained endlessly almost driving them mad. Eventually they just had to leave the bird to fend for itself, otherwise it would have remained a dependent. Good to see your birds are all healthy and doing well. Have a wonderful week Donna!

    • Thank you, Ashley! Right now, everywhere on the Chesapeake Bay, the Osprey offspring are so loud in their begging. So when they leave our region for migration, it does become eerily quiet. Last night, Bonita & Brad begged for over two hours, at times literally having temper tandrums, lol. All while Bella & Beau sat nearby, ignoring them. I can see the parents are trying to withhold and force the teens to fish for themselves. I’ve always wondered what a parent would do if an offspring refused to fend for itself. I imagine it can happen with Osprey too. There were reports a couple years ago of an Osprey that didn’t leave the lower Chesapeake Bay region, staying over the winter. Maybe that’s why it stayed back and didn’t migrate. 🙂 Have a wonderful week too, Ashley!

  6. Fantastic series, Donna. Really great to see all the activities of the newly-named teenagers. I didn’t know about cleaning talons or mid-air dog shake, and was delighted you captured these movements. Gorgeous photos and informative natural history lesson. Brilliant, my friend.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: