Posted in Birds, Current events, Park visit

An Osprey Sharing Its Catch… or Maybe Not

Earlier this week we stopped by the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk to view the osprey nesting platforms. We had been checking the platforms on and off for a few weeks, and they had been completely bare. But to our delight when we went to the boardwalk this week, both platforms had nests.

Osprey perched on roost over nest (click on any photo to see a large version)

We weren’t there long when the osprey on the nesting platform began calling to its mate. And soon after we spotted its mate flying back toward the nest with a fish in its talons.

Osprey returning with a fish

We watched with interest as it approached the nest. We were thinking that it was either going to share its catch, or perhaps drop off its catch and go out looking for more.

Returning with a fish

By the way, you can tell which gender an osprey is by its size. Among birds of prey the female is typically larger than the male. In this case I couldn’t really tell which one is bigger. However, the narrative that was going through my head was that the osprey perched above the nest was the female, and the osprey returning with a fish was the male.

Landing with a fish

In the above photo, note the face of the osprey that is perched on the nesting platform. Look how it focuses its attention on the fish.

The other osprey made its landing, was there for about five seconds, and then it took off again. I thought perhaps it was leaving the fish for its mate and was going off to fish again, but no!

It leaves almost immediately, taking its fish with it!

The osprey who continued clutching its fish flew out of our view. The one on its perch took a few minutes to mull that one over, and then it flew off on its own.

If the osprey already had eggs in its nest, it probably would have been nestled down over the eggs instead of perched up on the roost. And it is very unlikely that both osprey would have flew away leaving the eggs exposed. So presumably there are no eggs yet. Anyway, I thought that was kind of interesting.

If you decide to view this nesting platform, or others elsewhere in Ohio, it is a good idea to bring binocular, a spotting scope, or perhaps a camera with good telephoto capabilities in order to better view the osprey.

You may not have realized it, but at one point osprey had completely disappeared from our state. A previous TrekOhio articke, Return of the Osprey to Hoover Reservoir, describes the volunteers who made these and other nesting platforms and assisted their return to Ohio.

Upcoming event in Delaware County

On April 30, 2017 there will be an Osprey Homecoming event organized by Saundra McBrearty of the Delaware County Preservation Park System. The event will take place from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Hogback Ridge Park, 2656 Hogback Road, Sunbury, Ohio 43074. According to the park system’s calendar:

We’ll celebrate the return of the osprey from their winter grounds in South America. Drop in to view osprey through spotting scopes, enjoy crafts and refreshments, and learn about the successful recovery of this once endangered Ohio bird. Enjoy this event at Hogback Ridge Park and the Alum Creek Reservoir Hogback Road parking area. Free; All ages.

Additional information
  • TrekOhio: Delaware County Parks & Nature Preserves — Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk is part of the Hoover Nature Preserve. This part of the preserve is located in Delaware county; check out this page for links to the official website and for information on nearby parks and preserves.
  • TrekOhio: Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk — This is our review of Hoover Mudflats, including its location in Delaware County.
  • TrekOhio: Return of the Osprey to Hoover Reservoir — Discusses the extirpation (disappearance) of osprey from the state of Ohio, and how the volunteers who built nesting platforms assisted in their return to our state.
  • TrekOhio: Birding Resources — Our collection of links to websites, articles, maps, and videos related to birding in Ohio. Points to information on birding hotspots, organizations, events, and more.

More on Delaware County

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

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