Wild Wednesday … Together Again!

A week after the male osprey arrived the female showed up. They’re together again for another breeding season. While waiting for her to arrive he kept busy doing guy stuff. Click on the galleries to enlarge the pictures.

Apparently, an incident was witnessed by several coworkers between an eagle and the osprey. On Monday, one of the eagles showed up and began circling the nest. The male osprey took off and began to circle up to the eagle. When the osprey reached the eagle he began diving on it. After multiple diving runs the eagle began turn belly up to give the osprey its talons. The aerial combat went on until the eagle moved off.

Incidentally, I discovered this on the neighboring property. You have to click on the gallery to see the bald eagle on the nest.

 

 

Wild Wednesday … Osprey Nest Update

On Monday morning an osprey returned!

Osprey

He came with no fireworks, no fanfare and no eagles.

The week prior the eagles were notably absent and the osprey hadn’t arrived. Last Monday when he did arrive the eagles had been gone for a week. They must have a nest elsewhere and were using the osprey nest as a private getaway. You can see the eagles here.

Now that he has arrived his vigil begins. The female is fashionably late every year. More osprey news to follow when she hits town.

Wild Wednesday … Eagles Nest?

This is week that the osprey customarily return to their nest in the electrical tower at the sawmill. I haven’t seen them yet. Usually the male shows up a week or two before the female. This year they will be in for a bit of a surprise. A little over a month ago a pair of eagles moved in. I’m not sure how this will go, but the eagle are a lot bigger than the osprey. I’d have to put my money on the eagles. Click on the gallery to enlarge to photos and get the dirt.

Below are a few of the osprey posts over the years.

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/948

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1056

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1090

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/1703

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/2659

https://wordpress.com/post/theforesterartist.com/4017

 

Wild Wednesday … Birds Around the Mill

I started this post last June, but never finished it. Better late that never. Here are just a few pictures of our birds that make their home at the Mill. It defies conventional wisdom that so much wildlife makes it home at an industrial complex and thrives. It’s all about the habitat.

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Wood Ducks.

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Osprey

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Wild Turkey Hen

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Killdeer

great blue heron, heron, birds, wildlife, photography, nature, sawmill

Great Blue Heron

black pheobe, pheobe, birds, wildlife, nature, photography, sawmill

Black Pheobe

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Cattle Egret

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Blackbirds on a pole stack.

 

Wild Wednesday … Ospreys of Oroville

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Osprey nest overlooking Lake Oroville.  I really love this nest. It’s such a classic. 

I haven’t posted much about our local ospreys this year, so here’s a teaser. They had an excellent year. Nearly all the local nests were occupied with fledglings. There will be more posts to come. 

Wild Wednesday …Osprey Update

osprey

One of the remaining osprey keeps watch from a nearby oak tree.

The surviving ospreys have seemed to rally this week after the helicopter incident I blogged about last week, Wild Wednesday … A Death In The Family. For most of the week only one young osprey was in the nest. It occasionally left, but would return later. It sat in the nest calling for food.

osprey

The young osprey waits.

After a few days, I saw the second young bird return. Then both called.

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The other young osprey awkwardly comes in for a landing.

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Waiting patiently for breakfast.

Eventually, I saw the parent osprey. She came in with a fish for the young birds, but didn’t give it to them. She flew to the edge of the tower and started calling the fledglings. When the youngster moved toward her, she lifted off and flew up river. She was training her young fish hawks.

osprey, fishing

She brings in a fish for teasing her youngsters into following her. Her behavior has inspired my confidence in their future success.

After examining the photos I took of the dead osprey, I’m pretty sure it was the male bird that was struck by the helicopter blade. Now, mother osprey soldiers on. No news yet on the Fish and Wildlife warden’s investigation.

Wild Wednesday … A Death in the Family

osprey, nesting, helicopter

This osprey put it all on the line defending its young, and paid for it.

Sorry, no wildflowers this week, only a sad story.  If you’ve followed my blog for a while you may have seen some of my posts about the ospreys that nest and raise their young on a large electrical tower at our mill site. The tower, perched near the Sacramento River, overlooks prime fishing habitat. These birds are practically mascots for our operation. Almost without fail ospreys raise two offspring in the tower nest every year and have done so for decades.

osprey, bird strike, osprey nest

The osprey family 2015, just a week before the tragic incident.

However, a week ago last Monday, while in our office we heard the sound of a low-flying helicopter. This isn’t unusual except for the helicopter wasn’t just flying over. It was lingering. I strained to look out my window to see the helicopter, but it was just out of sight on the north side of the office. My window faces west. Then I saw an osprey buffeted by the rotor wash being blown off to the southwest. Next, a large bird wing fluttering to the ground outside my window. That got me out of my office and headed for the north end of the building. When I made it outside, the helicopter was gone. One of our foresters, our lead research scientist and her assistant met me. Our scientist was extremely agitated and told us the helicopter had struck one of the ospreys. As we walked out into the parking lot, the mill superintendent walked out from the opposite side and yelled to us. Then he reached under one of the pickups and pulled out the body of the dead osprey. He informed us that a number of the mill workers had seen the incident and were just about in tears. Fortunately, our research scientist got the aircraft identification numbers.

The osprey was cut to pieces defending it's nest.

The osprey was cut to pieces defending its nest.

She recounted to us how the ospreys became agitated because the helicopter hovered so close to the nest. All four birds were at the nest, both parents and two offspring. The parents took off and were responding defensively. One of the birds began diving on the helicopter trying to drive it away from the nest. On its fourth pass at the helicopter, it was struck by the blades, severing both wings and plummeting to the ground.

talons, osprey

California Fish and Wildlife was contacted and a warden responded. He collected the remains and took statements. We are awaiting the results of the investigation.

I’ve been watching all week, hoping to see the three remaining birds at the nest. So far I’ve only seen two return, but most of the time there’s just one. Both of the offspring can fly and they come and go to the nest. Our biggest concern is that the young are unable to fish on their own. Hopefully, the remaining parent will be able to keep the youngsters fed and that this helicopter incident doesn’t result in three dead ospreys. I’ll keep you posted.

If you want to see the previously osprey post just click on the osprey tag below and they’ll come up.

Romantic Osprey Triangle

He was waiting for a girl. It didn’t take long for her to show up either. He arrived on February 28th, which appeared in the post, Spring Wings. She returned March 3rd, but there was a surprise.

As I drove around the log deck, the nest tower came into view. I saw two birds on the nest tower. Upon closer inspection, it looked like a third bird in the nest. When I got to the office parking lot, I could see only see two birds. 

The two birds kept looking at each other, calling all the while. I thought, I may be here in time to catch the magic moment. The bird closest to the nest took off and did a flyby to the other bird. I knew we were getting close now. Then I saw wings flap in the nest. There WERE three birds!  I wasn’t witnessing the dance of love, but instead, two boys fighting over a girl.

Click on the pictures to enlarge the images. Watch the drama unfold!

Spring Wings!

Osprey, wildlife, sawmill, photography, nature

I first saw him last week, out back behind the mill.

I was pretty sure it was our male osprey on the snag behind the mill last week.  Then right on schedule our boy was back at the nest on Friday morning.  Last year he arrived on February 26th.  This year he showed February 28th.  Now he begins his vigil, as he waits for his mate to arrive.

Osprey, wildlife, sawmill, photography, nature

Back for a new year at the nest. He scans the horizon for his mate.

When the osprey arrive, I know that Spring is knocking on our door.  A few early flowers are blooming and the frogs are singing at night.  The little birds chase each other around the trees and buds are swelling.  We are finally getting some significant rain.  We may have a normal Spring after all.

Osprey, wildlife, sawmill, photography, nature

That fish is looking nasty!

You can see all about the nesting season 2013.