Friday, July 06, 2007


One of the sights that we get to see when biking along the trail to my parents house is this osprey nest. When Bill last biked out with the kids a few weeks ago , they were treated to the sight of the papa osprey bringing home what looked like an eel. Good eating apparently, but it still makes me glad that I am not one of these birds.
Here is a close up of one of the parents. The people who own this stretch of riverbank have been keeping a diary of the osprey and their daily lives for the past 11 years. There was a note on the fence just beside the path saying that out of the 11 years that osprey have been nesting here, last year was the only time when they did not successfully manage to raise their chicks.
In Osprey families, the note told, the males are the hunters for the entire family, while the females stay and guard, first the eggs, and then the chicks. Last year the people witnessed aerial combat between a local eagle and the male osprey. A few weeks later, the male had disappeared and one of the chicks was found about 100 yards from the nest. By the next week, there was no longer any sign of either the remaining chick (or chicks) or the female.

It kind of makes one think about the cycle of life. Everyday, all around us, battles for life and death rage. For some to live, others must die. Near our garden, there is an eagle nest. This is the third summer that eagles have used it. The first year, the pair was driven away by a murder of crows. Last year, they were rather more successful in raising their chicks and we actually saw one up close when the chick landed in my parents front yard. I was amazed at how large it was. The same size as Nicole. It seemed rather oblivious to the fact that there were 5 humans about 10 yards from it.

The question is, who should you root for? When faced with our dearly beloved osprey father provider being attacked by an eagle, you automatically say "Bad eagle." But then, when our beloved eagle is attacked by crows, it suddenly becomes "Bad crows." And then when you read about the intelligence and humor that crows supposedly posses, it become "Interesting crows." It might be a stretch to ever think "Good crow."

The only thing that I know for sure is that anyone of them can eat all the ground hogs they want because those buggers like to snack on my garden far too much.


Anonymous said...

Actually, it was the eagle I saw carrying the eel, and that was last summer. When Simon and I saw the Osprey eating a couple of weeks ago, it was hard to say what it was that it was ripping apart, but it almost certainly came from the river because the poor Osprey looked like a drowned rat - feathers all askew and looking soaked.

Last summer Mira and I saw the Osprey have a poo (do comments affect your PG rating?). It was remarkable because it doesn't poo in its nest. It poked its little tail up in the air and shot a white jet out over the side of the nest that must have gone between 6 and 8 feet. I didn't know they did that, but it makes sense not to soil the nest.

your DH

Leigh said...

What great photos. I suppose "good" and "bad" is often a matter of perspective.

Christine said...

Our crows are evil. They come in when all of the cardinals and blue jays have had their babies and do some serious nest damage.

And I'm with Leigh, good vs. bad is all about perspective. What would our world be like without the wonderful world of Marketing: "How can we sell this?"

Christine said...

Gosh, if the young are as big as Nicole, I hate to think of what those eagles could do to any of the small pets in the neighbourhood, or the barn cats.


Erin said...

The way I look at it, and I'm forced to look at it a lot working with animals and all, there really is no good and bad in their world. Those are strictly human judgments and even then it's completely relative. What's good to one person, is bad to another... who's right?

Leigh said...

Jackie I appreciate your encouraging comments about my countermarche adventures. I found a memory aid in Peggy Osterkamp's volume 2 -

Long Lift
Short Sink

All I have to do is remember that!

DaviMack said...

I'm just glad to see that somebody's built them a nice perch / nesting pole, and that they're using it! Your birds there are a bit brighter than the small ones we're trying to attract. ;)