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Thread subject: Suppose this is Dennis.
Name Date Message
Marie 03/25/05 01:19 am I have been thinking, if this was the worst scenerio and Betty was lost........could Ospreys feel pain and loss.( I know, I know, we shouldn't put human feelings onto birds) BUT I have seen gulls and eagles behave differently and emit distressing calls after the loss of their young... so, could Dennis be pained by the possible loss of his life long mate, Betty? I always felt she was older than him. Could the new set of behavious we see be a direct response to the loss Dennis may feel. He is also dealing with a new female in HIS nest. You know how men and women behave when there is a new female/male around. Could this happen in the bird world? Certainly we see different behaviours exhibited in humans when they are dealing with 1) their spouces, 2) a new girlfriend/boyfriend... Incest I believe does occur in the world of birds so could there be a remote chance that the new bird is one of his offspring? A female from three years ago and Dennis not really knowing how to behave in this situation. Pure speculation with a human touch... What are your ideas?
Shelley 03/25/05 06:22 am Marie, before I discovered this cam site, I was hooked on the Kent, Washington eagle cam. I watched there for 3 seasons, devotedly. (I admit, I barely even peeked, last year and apparently, there are already 2 eggs this year and I've only looked once! I feel terrible, as if I've betrayed them!)

Anyhow, a couple of years ago, there was a fight between the resident male and a new male and it was believed -- though never known for sure -- that the original male died. The new male was very inexperienced but Star, the female, was so incredibly patient with him. We posters were not so kind, I'm afraid. Anyhow, they had 2 eggs but the season was not successful. Only one hatched at all and that chick died after only a day or 2. The new male did not know how to provide food at all and we think the eggs were not successful because Star had to be off them for too long in order to eat, herself. Anyhow, we observed what I believe to be real mourning, after it was all over. She would sit and stare at the centre of the nest for long periods of time, or just sit and stare. It was heartbreaking. I DO believe that they feel loss and mourn that loss. Happily, the following season, they had 2 eggs that hatched and the chicks survived and fledged and miraculously, also survived some rather harrowing accidents. Once, caught on video, even, and shown on the tv news, the mom literally lifted a branch with her beak that had fallen across the nest and the almost new-born chicks. (I can try to find the link to that item) and another time, one chick got caught in a piece of rope that was brought to the nest but I think it was the other chick who managed to untangle it, I forget.

As for our osprey, I guess only time will tell but I am also wondering if these are ours from last year. Don't really know yet
Celeste 03/25/05 06:42 am I also find myself wondering.....if it is Dennis and he is acting so tentatively, what will our nest be like this season.....We have only seen one day of active far things appear out of sorts to me anyways...I find myself also thinking as you do Marie....those of us who are exposed to animals see many times their "human feelings" we imagine them? How about the dogs that mourn the loss of their masters and stay by their graves, etc...? In the first year of watching the nest, the "blue cloth" was cared for by the female and her chicks and when accidently the male removed it from the nest, the chicks and the hen screamed until he brought it back...was that a human reaction? I also am remembering some of the stories that Tiger has told us, etc.....or the rescued osprey "Ollie" who soothes new osprey to eat when they are brought into rehabilitation centers.......the upcoming season I do believe will not be "predictable"!
Tiger 03/25/05 07:27 am I must say that this thread is pure theatre with all your wonderful speculations!! I am not at all sure how ospreys react to new b/f g/fs.

While I do think that these birds have feelings around loss of a partner/babies I think it does not last too long. I think that the pressure to procreate is too great to allow too much of that. I think that "getting on with it" is very much the order of the day.

I do not know if you remember but last year we discussed "frustration eyries". These as "nests" which ospreys build as a reaction to losing a brood of chicks. They do not usually come to anything but presumably they make the ospreys "feel better".

Much more recently I noticed an account of a female bird going on "vacation" when her nest failed. This is documented on what I now refer to as the Bluebeard site!


Cecilia 03/25/05 09:25 am Someone's question yesterday reminded me to get out Poole's book and I ended up re-reading most of it last night. I was struck by a couple of things about Pre-laying courtship that are making me start to lean away from thinking that this is Dennis :-(

First he says: "During courtship, females in older pairs of Ospreys are fed more then those in younger pairs."

Then... "New males seem reluctant to transfer fish to their mates, especially as pairs form early in the season. This reluictance may take the form of "mantling" (what I've been calling "hooding"), whereby males face away from their mates and drop their wings over the food, seemingly to protect it."

We've certainly been seeing a lot of this behavior (sometimes he doesn't even have food) and I don't remember Dennis doing this last year until later in the season when he sometimes seemed reluctant to part with one of the goldfish :-)

This male seems like a liitle kid who has a new toy and wants to show it off but doesn't want to share it. He doesn't seem to understand, yet, that food will lead to mating. Dennis clearly got that connection.

karen 03/25/05 10:05 am Cecilia great research thanks! These birds certainly do not behave like last years. Does the book talk about feeding/fishing? The book I have says that the males bring the fish to the female during courtship/incubating ... so would that mean that now the female is only eating what he is bringing? does not seem like alot of food.

The dropped wing posture by the male ( without fish ) is described in my book ( Stokes Guide ) as a courtship pose and says that it is usually followed by mating.

So many new questions this year!
Mickey 03/25/05 10:09 am watching this years nest only reinforces what a great pair they were last year!

I like that some of us knew it last year while watching.

This male sure makes a good nest though!
If he could just make that next step and fish fish fish, he would get more osprey tickle pickles :)
karen 03/25/05 10:10 am is that all men think about?
Mickey 03/25/05 10:13 am karen.........last years male never hooded, like Cec said........until things were well along in the nest and everyone was competing for fish in the nest.After observing now for 3rd season I might question Stokes guide.
Mickey 03/25/05 10:14 am right now it doesnt seem to be on this Dennis` mind *wink*
Tiger 03/25/05 10:15 am Not all the time Karen! :)

But has anyone noticed that Dennis does not really seem to know what to do. I have noticed that on two occasions he has landed on Betty's back and stood at right angles to her.

I can see Betty filing for divorce if this goes on!
Marie 03/25/05 10:35 am I would imagine ( according to Poole and Cec) that all the 'clumsy' pre-copulation activity that Tiger has witnessed that this is just how it is suppose to be for the 'Spring Tune-up' that Sheeley so elequently called it. I think we will see osprey theater( Last Tango in Long Island) in ernest in the next little while.
Cecilia 03/25/05 10:53 am Poole does talk about how if the male doesn't feed her in the nest at this stage she will go and get her own food...and that is what the male doesn't want because it puts her out in the world where another male Osprey could mate with her. Dennis should be bringing her food AND following her around every time she leaves the protect his gene pool!
karen 03/25/05 11:15 am Thanks everyone! All this new behavior has me on the edge of my seat and not getting much work done!
Cecilia 03/25/05 11:19 am I know...I'm shutting down the cam right now so I can get back to work :-)
karen 03/25/05 11:21 am Seems the cam shut down also ... maybe my boss called DPOF ....
Celeste 03/25/05 11:44 am Keep that Poole's book handy Cec......we did 101(part 1 and 2) last year, but now we need an advanced course! As I am writing this I am also thinking though that Pooles book offers a lot of knowledge, but once again, we are seeing the nest in ways that others before have not...i.e. the feeding of the chick from last year....which even D.Gessner said was something we "taught" the everyday I think we will all be sitting on the edge of our seats.....(Laundry is calling me) back to my nest.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006