Thursday, April 21, 2011

That Nesting Instinct

I live with many different kinds of birds. Some of them like me and some do not.  Every year the osprey couple return, this time with a juvenile, and they try to build a nest on the crane across the river. They have been unsuccessful for the past two years as the nest seems to eventually collapse due to the lack of a good support on the cranes arm even though it has an excellent view.  Last year two couples fought over the crane view.

This year, instead of using our boat cabin roof as a holding area for supplies of sticks and algae muck and grasses, they began to build a nest on the boat cabin roof itself.  We had been away for 5 days, and when we returned, they had added all the big sticks and were starting on the medium sticks in a circle.  One cannot disturb an osprey nest once they are nesting...but this was not that close.

It was with real dismay that hubby threw the sticks off the roof and scrubbed the roof from all the bird doo-doo, and then purchased some crazy thing that looks like an umbrella without the fabric, costs six times what an umbrella would cost, and attached it to the roof.  For at least two more days the osprey couple circled the boat diving down and making cries and dropping the odd stick or two until it appeared they had finally given up.

Each evening they sat on the snags across the river and called out with the sunset and I did not know where the new nest was or if they were even building a nest!   Last night he had a fish in claw and was bringing it to the female.  She flew away.  Maybe she is mad with distress and looking for a new partner?  It is not a happy place by the river these days.

Then within a few days they were back and beginning to drop all kinds of stuff on the roof.  Each day, actually several times a day, I would walk down to the dock and they would fly away and I would lower the boat and begin the process of cleaning the roof.  (We could move the boat, but hubby is away for a long time.)

My guilt got the better of me and I called around and did some research and found an organization that will get a permit and build an osprey nest platform, at NO SMALL cost, I might add.  I guess this is where my state tax refund will go.  Serves me right for loaning the government an interest free sum of money for a year!  I am beginning the process of mailing the nature biologists pictures of my shoreline area.   It is too late for this year as the permit process can only begin in the fall, but hopefully next year we will make amends for our sins and be osprey landlords providing free rent.  ( I will admit that watching an osprey family grow is a big motivation here.)

I slowly am winning the battle as I only have to make a trip once a day and the sticks are so few that perhaps that are actually building somewhere else and just using the boat as a meeting place to discuss building materials and argue over styles, expense and quality.


Brian Miller said...

i am glad you are putting that platform in...i am sure it will make them happy next year...must be cool to see them though...

Barbara said...

I'd be sooooo tempted to let them build on the boat, but the grownup in me understands why that's not such a great idea. Kudos to you for building them a platform for next year!

Celia said...

Your own Osprey platform, how exciting. We used to watch the Ospreys on the Pend Oreille River in Idaho as we camped. They nested on a railroad bridge. By then they were trying to toss the young one out of the nest. The little guy was quite upset, glad I don't speak Osprey.

bob said...

Wow, and here I was feeling put-upon by a couple of wrens who sneaked into our front porch light and currently are busy taking turns feeding the babies while the other one poops all over the light fixture.

I am imagining the wren-to-osprey poop volume ratio must be about 32 to 1. So in a kind of stinkety way I guess I could county my blessings.

Dave said...

An interesting blog Tabor. Good luck next time with the Ospreys - Dave

Dave King said...

Delightful ppost.

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for you for looking after the ospreys. It must have been awful having to take away their nest.

One Woman's Journey said...

They like you
I have a groundhog
or some other creature
that keeps making a hole
under my air condition pad
at the side of house.
Keep filling the hole with
rocks and then "it" makes another one.

Hilary said...

You have a good heart and I'm sure that next year they will reward you with a family to watch and enjoy. Thank you for caring as you do.

Linda said...

I like what Hilary said and I wish Ospreys were smart enough to tell them that. "Hey Osprey family, Tabor is such a great person who understands your plight better than most of the rest of us, but you cannot nest on her boat !!!"

I hope the platform thing works out and if it does, maybe you could post nesting videos on the internet and make some money back.

I wish you success with your Ospreys. Thank you for sharing this unhappy river news. =D

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Great initiative and I'm sure you'll be rewarded by the ospreys.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this story. We have an osprey that hangs out at the top of our rope swing in winter. I can be in my hammock and he's up there eating away.

I also understand the frustration with having to deplete their nest efforts. My neighbors keep ridding their docks of the swallow nests and finally they have returned to ours. We like them. Two groups nestled in the eaves. Smaller nest than ospreys so much more tolerable. Good luck with your efforts to get a platform for next year.

Freda said...

I keep hoping for swallows, swifts or house-martins to come to our house, but we live in a bungalow so there is not much chance. As for ospreys....... what an adventure.