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Thread subject: Must share some things I have learned---hope I am not a pest!
Name Date Message
Celeste 05/05/04 02:18 pm I am fortunate to have a copy of "Ospreys" a Natural and Unnatural history by Alan Poole. I understand there are only two copies in the library in Nassau County and Cecilia mentioned that the book is out of print. Anyways, I am starting to read it and if you all don't mind I am going to write some highlights from time to time... The color of eggs is something I just read and here it goes....

1. eggs vary in appearance and color......white to creamy white, some shade into fawn, dusty tan, and other shades of brown and sienna, (guess that is why in Scotland it is a hobby to steal osprey eggs for some "egg collectors".
Hence the mystery of our white egg this season!

2. Handling an adult osprey.....they feel very strong to touch with their eyes alert to the handler. They seldom bite, but their talons can be quick and painful to the handler. Falconers rarely use this bird to train as they do not adapt well to handlers. Female ospreys are calmer and trusting if their heads are hooded, but the males do not settle down at all.

3. Osprey will get used to people in the vicinity of their nest, (for those people who are lucky to have a nest in their backyard), and have even been known to have a nest near the landing strip of an airport! It gives truth that "osprey is the one raptor that can live most happily with modern man, if given a chance".

4. Osprey's plummage is dense and oily which helps them to stay dry. Yet, heavy rain or repeated diving in water will soak them. They dry off by perching droop winged and preening their feathers quite methodically. Sometimes when they arrive after migration and there is a snowstorm, they will seek shelter on the ground till the storm passes.

5. As far as osprey eating things other than fish, there is no proof, but the theory is that if they are carrying a carcass of a dead animal it is most likely being used as nesting material. The diet is 99% fish.

6. They first build their nests with sticks which the male usually gets by breaking them from the tree. The female's job is to "arrange" them. Then closer to egg laying is when the soft stuff comes in for cushioning of the eggs. However, hula hoops, dolls, tv atennas, flannel material, bicycle tires, and an osprey who had a nest near a dairy barn,bought remnants of cow manure, and assorted machinery parts used for milking! Unfortunately, as we are aware, plastic bags can smother the chicks, and fishing line has been known to get entangle with the chicks limbs and restrict the blood supply.

6. osprey will migrate overwater which is different than other raptors who stick to shorelines. They don't seem to seek ships to rest on, and they will divert to the shoreline to feed themselves. They migrate alone, and hordes of them can be seen in October leaving North America through Cape May, New Jersey. They primarily fly during the day. Boy would I love to be in Cape May to see that! Osprey reach winter quarters by late November and stay till return migration in late Feb or early March, (as we know).

Anyways, have to return to work for a communion rehearsal, and I hope you don't think I am trying to "preach". I just find all of this so fascinating and I hope you don't mind my continuing to write things as I read this book!
Cecilia 05/05/04 02:55 pm Thanks Celeste, we love your tutorials! In that book "Return of the Ospreys" the auther reported that one pair of ospreys that he was watching brought a barbie doll to the nest and threaded it into the side. Like Mickey, I'm waiting for the hula hoop :-)
Jack 05/05/04 02:58 pm Please don't ever hesitate to enlighten us with whatever facts you discover about our "friends". Thank you so much. Very interesting. A friend once told me that he saw an osprey kill a mallard duck. I could never verify it and to be honest...I have my doubts...but strange things do happen in the natural world
Shelley 05/05/04 06:35 pm Thank you, Celeste!! I also count myself lucky and priviledged to be the recipient of these mini-tutorials!! There aren't enough hours in the day to read everything there is to read and learn everything there is to learn so when you -- or anyone! -- shares your impressions and knowledge, it's a real bonus for me!

So, I guess I'm wrong about that white egg, after all! ;-)
Mickey 05/05/04 07:20 pm Im in total agreement with everyone and completely enjoy your tutorials.
thank you :)
Lori 05/05/04 07:55 pm I agree with everyone else! I enjoy your information, always find it interesting and I love the fact that I didn't have to do any reseach to learn it!
Kathy 05/05/04 08:09 pm Thank you for all the new information you continue to find. Can't wait for the next writing.
RonS 05/05/04 09:01 pm Celeste, let add my voice to the chorus of thanks to you for your generous heart and sharing spirit. I'm just another humble student! RonS

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Fri Dec 31 23:49:43 EST 2004