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Thread subject: Betty Getting More Bossy??
Name Date Message
Tiger 04/23/05 06:53 pm Does anyone feel that Betty is getting more bossy? Particularly when she comes in to take over sitting on the eggs she almost shoves Dennis off.
Sheri B 04/23/05 07:05 pm Perhaps Dennis is getting a bit of an attitude from Betty due to his lack of fish deliveries. Isn't it great to watch their personalities develop?
Tiger 04/23/05 07:49 pm But do we know that there is a lack of fish? I know that we do not see too many fish but they look two healthy ospreys to me.

The real test will come if there are SIX hungry mouths to feed.
RonS 04/23/05 08:15 pm I've been thinking about their apparent healthy appearance. I know it's not the behavior we're used to seeing, but is it possible that B&D05 have established an eating place away from the nest? Perhaps Dennis is leaving a fish there for Betty. That would explain her comparatively quick returns, she dosesn't have to fish, just consume what he has left her. Tiger, you are right of course, that this will come to a screeching (both literally and figuratively) halt when there are chick(s) involved.
Cecilia 04/23/05 09:01 pm Nothing I have ever read has mentioned a male osprey leaving a fish somewhere for a female but certainly all references have discussed how ospreys seem to have their favorite trees to fly to for surveying the neighborhood and eating a catch. I think it is more likely that Betty catches her own fish. She certainly had to feed herself the whole time that she was in South America (or wherever she was) and on her migration north, so presumably she is a good fisher. I'm thinking that she must be catching and eating something outside of the camera's range.

I do think that she is getting a little more aggressive (bossy?). She won't take no for an answer when she decides that she wants back on the eggs and she has been getting more vocal...complaining? about food, or lack thereof? I'm not sure...but definitely she is speaking up. Over all she seems to be much quieter than Betty 04 but we haven't seen her yet with a nest full of hungry chicks (as Tiger said)...things may change dramatically in a few weeks.

What I wonder about is whether Dennis will rise to the challenge. We've seen that he is sexually competent, that he brought in sticks and worked on the nest etc. BUT...he has not protected his genes the way he should have. Every time she leaves the nest to feed herself she is vulnerable to being mated by another male osprey which would mean that some of the eggs wouldn't be his. I have no idea whether she would even allow this to happen but given the fact that nature seems to err on the side of caution it seems foolish for him to force her to leave the nest to keep herself fed.

He is good about taking turns roosting but so was Dennis last year...snuggling down into a warm nest is not a hard job :-) All in all I won't feel really optimistic about this pair until we see Dennis bringing in 4 or 5 fish a day.
Tiger 04/24/05 05:37 am Ah Cecilia you should think about writing an osprey book!

I cannot agree that Betty is catching her own fish. This really would be novel behaviour. Mind you I find it interesting that there is more angst about the fish here on the board than in the nest.

To really answer these questions we need some observations from below the next itself. Then we might get some idea where Betty goes when she leaves the nest.

Touching on the genetics issue.....in might be expected that Dennis would be off trying to sow wild oats now.....but there is no great sign of that.

Celeste 04/24/05 05:39 am Perfect Cec! Well said!.....I hope we all will be pleasantly surprised..but..it will also be interesting to see if Betty will suddenly become louder when her chicks are hungry (as she is definitely a quiet osprey)......once again......just when we thought we had it all figured out......a new nest with different behaviors this year to learn and observe!
Cecilia 04/24/05 12:27 pm Tiger..I know that it is unusual for females to feed themselves at this stage but there is validation that it sometimes happens. Poole produced an abstract titled: "Courtship Feeding and Osprey Reproduction" that
you can pull up by Googling the title. On page 12 he writes: "Males that fail to deliver fish, however, or that do so at a low enough rate that their mates sometimes are forced to hunt on their own, may suffer loss of fitness through cuckoldry, loss of nest sites, or reduced success of copulations."
Marie 04/25/05 05:19 pm Cecelia, thank you for all your wisdom, and references to Poole's bible. It is great to sit here and catch up with all the threads and thanks Tiger as always for your interestings thoughts and ideas.

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006