Bella & Beau 2019: Teen Temper Tantrums

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

August 27, 2019

Welcome back to Bella & Beau’s Osprey season!  For the past 1½ weeks, there were many wonderful highlights that I was lucky to witness and some captured.

First, the great news that I didn’t confirm until yesterday.  I hadn’t seen Momma Bella for several days.  I began to wonder if she had left for migration.  But although I hadn’t visually seen her, I was getting some ‘hints’ from the teens she might have been perched several times in the tree across the creek that Beau also uses.  There were times the teens would beg towards that direction, then turn to Dad Beau on the water tower and beg more.


Bonita & Brad begging across the creek.                Dad Beau is behind them on the water tower.


It was yesterday, the teens started alarming.  I knew something wasn’t right from their sound and ran outside to see a family of Black Vultures flying quite low over the creek.  I saw an Osprey shoot out of that tree I mentioned and began to pursue the Black Vultures.  They quickly took off, of course.


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Osprey in pursuit of a Black Vulture


Once satisfied, the Osprey (who I thought was Beau) flew over the nest, looking down at the teens who were quiet and watching, and then flew off towards the end of the creek and perched on the communications tower Bella & Beau used a lot late in the season last year.  I turned to check and saw an Osprey on the water tower.  I got my binoculars and saw it was Beau.  So was that Bella I just watched chasing the vultures?  I quickly checked & zoomed in on my shots and could see a ‘necklace’ on the Osprey’s chest.  It was!


Bella in flight


Bella on the communications tower


So all along, Momma Bella has been around, keeping a protective watch over the teens when at the nest.  And she just proved again, no one messes with her babies!


Bella’s instinct to leave for migration is imminent.  I felt very fortunate to get to see and photograph her again as I know it may have been my last time.


So, yes, the teens, Bonita & Brad, are out and about for hours at a time.  The nest sits empty.


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I know Bella didn’t see this blackbird at the time, she wouldn’t have allowed him there.


As soon as either teen is tired of flying, or tired of trying to fish, they’ll return to the platform and solicit to Bella & Beau to feed them.  It appears the parents are starting to withhold feedings even longer as the begging can go on for hours.  The begging turns into downright loud, hilarious temper tantrums!


Teen Temper Tantrums



Bonita & Brad looking and listening to see if the temper tantrums worked



Bonita having a full-fledged temper tantrum.                     Bonita checks to see “if it worked”.



Bella & Beau withholding food must be working.  I’ve watched both Bonita and Brad trying to fish in the creek, sometimes right from the nest platform.


Bonita diving for a fish



Bonita dives for another fish another day



Brad attempting a dive for a fish but changes his mind



I haven’t seen either teen catch a fish yet, but they are probably trying out on the river as I’ve seen them both return to the platform wet.

To be sure, Dad Beau does make fish deliveries to ensure they don’t starve.  Poor Beau, he’s practically assaulted trying to pass the fish.


Beau delivering a fish to an aggressive Brad



Beau delivering a fish with both teens eager for it…..who gets it?


This next gallery series was a wonderful highlight I was excited to share.  Beau dropped down right in front of me and caught a fish.  I captured most of the action, as did Bonita who was on the nest.


Beau catches a fish


Was this a teaching moment for Bonita’s benefit?  Dad Beau obviously made sure he didn’t deliver it, he probably went off and ate it himself.  Bonita certainly looked solemn after that.


Bonita’s reaction to Dad Beau passing her by with the fish


With Beau staying in close proximity much of the time, I have gotten some nice photos of him as he flies in and out of the area.


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“Peek-a-boo, I see you”
(Beau in flight)


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Beau’s handsome wingspan


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“Beau’s Belly”



Eldest teen Bonita is the ‘wild child’, she’s out adventuring from the nest most of the day, then suddenly flies in with speed while announcing loudly her arrival.  Trying to catch her in flight hasn’t been easy, but I did get a few of her in flight as well.


Bonita in flight



Youngest teen Brad is the homebody, he still likes to hang around the general vincinity of the nest and has his share of handsome flight photos.


Brad in flight



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Brad using his ‘goggles’ in flight



Brad still enjoys perching on the sailboat mast just off to the right of my balcony.  I love when he perches there.


Brad on one of his (and my) favorite perches



A few more favorite photos from this past week and a half….




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Bella perched, watching over the teens



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Bonita amongst the clouds



Finally, I’ll end with three dramatic sunset photos with Bella & Beau’s nest platform.


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Sunset over Bella & Beau’s nest platform on Cambridge Creek



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Different sunset dramatics over Bella & Beau’s nest platform on Cambridge Creek



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Sunset over Bella & Beau’s nest platform on Cambridge Creek



63 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Teen Temper Tantrums

  1. Hello Donna,
    What more is there to say? I have already used up all of the expressions (of wonder, etc) of my English vocabulary 🙂 I feel my heart “soar” with this family as they progress to the next step of their lives. It is bittersweet (for selfish reasons) because I wish I could see them forever. At the same time, it’s wonderful to see them thriving and living their lives as Ospreys, and of course that means flying off when the time has come… I want to laugh and cry at the same time!
    The expressions on the teenagers faces are priceless! And Bella and Beau continue to amaze ❤

    Thank you for sharing with us so generously!

    • Thank you very much, Takami, for your very kind comments! I feeling a little melancholy with the season ending, yet elated as well with this family’s success! They have given me much pleasure the past two years. When I think there couldn’t possibly be any more behavior shots to click, they surprise me even more. Can you tell I have fallen in love with this family? 😊 Bella & Beau have been inspirational and absolutely entertaining on a daily basis. I have loved sharing the highlights of their daily lives with hopes others learn a little about this amazing bird.

      You are so very welcome, Takami!

  2. Breathtaking photos, Donna. Thank you for keeping us informed about the exciting goings-on on and near the platform. It’s a good thing that we don’t greet the pizza delivery person the way these teenagers greet pear Beau. 🙂
    Many greetings,

    • Thank you, Deborah! I believe the teens are trying hard, too many times they are returning to the nest wet now. 🙂

      The teens will leave for migration very soon but will not return to our area until 2021. They will vacay in South America for a 1 1/2 years, teaching themselves to be perfect Osprey for the return to find a mate and breed.

      Actually, if Bella & Beau’s two chicks migrated successfully last year, they’ll be returning to our area next Spring 2020 after their 1 1/2 hiatus and start their adult life. 🙂

  3. That last sunset is quite dramatic, and you have some wonderful close-ups that have me checking the details of the female’s necklaces, the extra lid on the eye, the condition of the feathers, etc. I did some quick research and discovered that the younger ones stay south for the first year, then come back to near their birthplace. Not a lot of information, what do you know about that? It was a sure mark of Bella and Beau when we witnessed how they make their nest.

    • Thank you, Jane! I keep trying to show ‘new’ photos, so they aren’t so repetition. 🙂

      Yes, when teens Bonita & Brad depart for migration within the next couple weeks, they will fly to South America and spend all of 2020 there, becoming full-fledged, skilled adults. They will return the spring of 2021 to our general area to begin looking for their mate for life.

      So, remember Bella & Beau’s last year’s two chicks? If they had a successful migration, they will be returning next Spring 2020! 🙂

  4. Such drama! Love how mom is so protective and yet supports her young ones in becoming independent. These are all really beautiful shots, Donna! Action-packed with great descriptions. I especially love the close-ups!

    • Thank you, I am always trying to ‘up’ my shots to share, lol. Mom Bella is definitely a super-star, isn’t she?!! I was looking for her this morning but no sighting. It’s becoming time for her to disappear…. 😞

  5. More great captures Donna. There are some humorous moments there as the teens behave just like our kids did when they were teens trying to manipulate and get their way which is always the easy way out.

    • Thank you, Ashley! I have good laughs with/at them every day and love it. I was scolding them today after hours of begging that they’re being lazy. Think they listened? Nah, they’re teenagers!! 😊

  6. So many AMAZING photos, I can’t even list a few favorites. I love them all! What boggles my mind is that you can tell them all apart – I can’t fathom how you do it!

    • Thank you very much, Eliza! Now you can see why I show so many photos, I can’t never decide on just a few faves on my posts either! 😉

      Great mind boggle! 🙂 My husband still wonders how I tell them apart, lol. I’ve watched them daily for so long, I just know. And there are hints. 🙂 Here you go:

      Beau’s upper chest is basically all white, Bella has a sprinkle of dark feathers on her upper chest, called her ‘necklace’. Side by side, Bella is larger than Beau. Their adult feathers are dark brown, no white-tips.

      The teens…..their feathers are white-tipped. Bonita is the dark beauty, I’ve never seen a local Osprey so dark on the head’s crown and back. Her feathers are darker too. She has the start of her ‘necklace’ as well. Side by side with Brad, Brad is smaller, (females are larger than the males). Brad has a white chest like his Dad.

      Ready for this? I can tell which teen is begging by their calls. 🙂 Bonita is downright piercing loud and her temper tantrums are more dramatic (she makes me laugh all the time). Brad is noisy too, but not so piercing to the ear. But he does like to let it known he is desiring a meal.

      Finally, I take a ton of photos and record quick notes in a notepad I have laying nearby the balcony. Just in case I’m a bit confused on ‘who’ I just captured.

  7. You have so many wonderful photos of the B&Bx2 family (Beau, Bella, Bonita, and Brad)/ I see that they are doing “dry runs” of catching fish, their timing is a little off yet but the will eventually do it. Now, they are playing the ‘waiting time’ for when they will start their long journey. Great post as always. Thank you for your wonderful report, my dear friend. 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ! I love the ‘B&Bx2’ nickname!! 🙂 They are being typical teenagers, being lazy as much as they can. Today I heard Bella or Beau talk to them from an unseen perch, and both teens quieted down after a long begging session. One of the parents must have scolded them? Seemed like it, lol, Bonita took off for flight shortly after that. 🙂

  8. Ahhh…. such utterly gorgeous captures. It’s like being there (almost)! You’ve captured some marvelous action and it’s awfully hard to pick a favorite, but it’s Brad flying over the creek (with the color reflected on the water) if I must. 😀

    • Thank you, Gunta! That shot of Brad is pretty nice. 😊 I keep telling the teens, give me something different to share, so Brad chased a gull yesterday, I still need to download them to see if I got a great shot of that.

  9. Such an amazing gallery! You’ve had quite a lot of action this summer🙂 My heart melts when I see the birds feeding their babies. All your photos are amazing, including the sunsets!!

  10. You have some amazing shots there Donna, some well captured moments too. Very funny to think these young ones behave just like kids throwing tantrums lol. I love the peek-a-boo shot the best. Looking forward to the next instalment. 🙂

    • Thank you, Sue! I get good laughs every day now with those temper tantrums. When they’ve done one, their faces are priceless when looking directly at the parents to see their reaction. Parents are tough…..we all have to be! 🙂

  11. We could learn a lot in parenting skills from Bella and Beau. Mainly supervised hunger goes along way to helping youngsters to stand on their own two feet.

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