Friday, 29 July 2011

Female osprey surprise!

Just as we were beginning to think that the female may have started to drift away from the family unit, she surprised us by turning up at the nest today. Two chicks arrived at the nest and were calling frantically for food. Then the male flew in to the nest carrying a fish which was so fresh it was still breathing and wet. He did not pass it across to the chicks however, but flew off into a nearby tree. The chicks were calling monotonously, beseeching him to return with the fish. Then an extraordinary thing happened, the adult female flew onto the nest and the male returned and passed the fresh fish, untouched, across to her. She feasted on it and even offered a small portion to one of the chicks. One chick flew off and then the other left the nest, just leaving the adult female who finished the whole fish to herself complete with tail fin, she then picked up some scraps of fish remains from an earlier meal and ate that.
We have never seen the male present a fish to the female this late in the season before and it was a fascinating insight into the bond between this pair. We are constantly learning more about the family life of the ospreys the more we observe them. It is hard not to apply anthropomorphism to the events today and see it as a touching moment within a relationship between the pair,as he has no duty to continue to bring fish to her at this late stage in the season. It begs the question - are they bound by more than just duty and instinct to raise a family?


  1. I've been watching and have loved Ospreys for over 40 years, it surprises you at just what you witness from individual pairs,

    There is EJ and Odin at Loch Garten, EJ is the boss and calls the tune with Odin being an excelent fisherman at times bringing in as many fish a day, the is my home nest at The Loch of the Lowes in Dunkeld,, where our Lady and the Laird live, the are totally different, Lady is a great nag,, it's her passion, the Laird plays deaf at times, but he to is a good provider, this year unfortunately we have not had chicks due to the bad weather,, so all the happenings from the nest have been as new for us at the Wildlife Village blog as if has been for our birds,,,Lady has never not had a chick to love and fawn over, YES she is a typical Mother Earth, and not a Duty Mother,,,so in her 27 years of life, its been a great learning curve all round this season, BUT one thing we have all witnessed is the Bond and LOVE,, yes love between our pair,,,The Laird comes to sit with Lady just because he can and wants to and for no other reason,, they quietly pip to each other as if its a private language just for the two of them, he is always bring her something and they are still mating to maintain their bond,
    So to your question, YES there is a lot more to these birds than just instinct and the common bond of procreation,
    There is the new pair Nora and Monty at Cors Dyfi too, with their three beautful chicks who have just fledged except for the little girl, she will go any day now, this new and very young pair have made thier nest for the first time there for over 400 years and its wonderful to watch just hoe well they have developed this season into parents that didn't know what to do at first with three chicks into loving, careing and doting parents,,,
    I could go on about many more pairs, but each pair is as different as our fingerprints are, and their personailties are the same too,
    I think your female has shown you that her bond too is strong and that your male has shown you shomething you just didn't expect to happen not our of instinct, but out of the bond of love they share together, and will until one or either of the dies,

    Chrissy Beahan,
    From the Wildlife Village
    The Loch of the Lowes.

  2. Thank you Chrissy for your feedback and for sharing your observations over the years with us. We are constantly learning more and more about these fascinating birds. Their pair bonds definitely seem to be beyond just the call of duty. Di


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