Friday, April 28, 2017
The Part II of the Osprey Platform Saga
It had been quiet for a while after the parent Canadian Geese and their six offspring fell into the water and then swam to shore and tucked into the grasses. For two days the platform nest that was covered in sticks sat empty and somewhat forlorn looking. We had been used to watching osprey activities in and around the nest through most of the summer. Now it was almost as if there was an ornithological home with a vacant sign and looking for renters.
On the third day an osprey arrived and perched on a branch just a short way from the nest. He/she sat and watched the nest and the river for the better part of an hour. I got busy and when I looked again, the osprey was on the nest. He/she sat there and looked around. He/she stayed there in reverie for most of the rest of the afternoon, but by dusk was gone. Was this one of the prior occupants thinking about last year?
One the fourth day I got up early and saw that the nest was still empty in the quiet spring morning. But by 10:00 or so not one, but two, osprey were on the nest. They looked like renters reviewing a space for the summer. They did not remove any of the remaining goose shells or rearrange any of the sticks. They just sat there in thought. It was certainly too late in the spring for them to start a family, so I was not optimistic. By dusk both were gone.
A few more days passed with the nest unoccupied. We had weather that was freakishly wild as springs can be. Heavy rains, cold winds, followed by hot afternoons. Then one morning I heard a goose honking loudly. No one was on the nest, but the goose continued to honk for almost an hour down near the river. That afternoon a Canadian goose flew up from the nest to the platform and called heartily for some time. I refused to let my mind go to that dark place. This was NOT a grieving goose, but just a lost fellow who was tired of being alone. Days went by and I did not see the parent geese or goslings anywhere along the river. I did see two Canadian geese swimming on the far side of the river, but without baby geese.
The next day a Canadian goose flew again up to the platform. He/she rearranged the furniture for a bit, checked out the view and then settled in for a while almost as if nesting. But it was for naught. By the next day she was gone.
It has been several days and the nest now sits very empty, even more so than before and has been that way for days. An empty rental for the summer months for our feathered friends. When the naturalist comes to tag the young osprey in late summer he will find no one to bracelet. Too bad. Maybe next year.