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Thread subject: Changing of the guard
Name Date Message
Shelley 05/01/05 11:41 am I just love watching the changing of the guard at the nest. Their interactions and behaviour is just fascinating to me to observe. I am still worried about the lack of dinner delivery from Dennis, though. Sure, maybe once the chicks arrive, this will change and he will prove himself to be worthy but still, I do wish he'd be practicing a bit more, now. Can anyone refresh my memory from last year? Did Dennis 04 display this similar behaviour before the eggs hatched or was he always as good a provider as he was after the chicks were born?


This Dennis (05), although we agree that he is likely younger than 04, seems to have decent instincts as far as nest building and co-operative baby-sitting duties, even protection of the nest. But really, I can practically see the speech bubble over Betty's head every time he arrives, empty-taloned, saying, "Do I need to make you a list?!!! FISH, FISH, FISH! There! Can you remember that?!! Sheesh! "
Celeste 05/01/05 01:41 pm I briefly looked at last year's observations and noted that Dennis brought fish to the nest right after the first egg, as early as 4/7. There were obs that said "not sure if Dennis has brought a meal", "Dennis brought a nice size fish"....Dennis sitting on the nest while Betty flew away, etc. Perhaps our memories are of the amounts of fish that Dennis brought in after the chicks, (weather was extremely favorable last year for fishing). If Dennis relieves Betty and she is able to get away, I am sure that is when she is taking care of her needs. Besides eating, osprey also need to bathe from time to time also. I certainly agree that this Dennis is new at this, but hopefully, weather, fish supply, will help him once the chicks are born. Tim noted when he went to the area that fish were "hoppin".....so at least we know if Betty does leave she is able to feed herself. We had very, very heavy rain last night through this morning, and finally the skies are blue.....fishing is hard for osprey when it is raining heavy. Hoepfully today, they can get a couple of good meals!

Oh and one last thing, I even saw observations from '04 where the eggs were left unattended.
RonS 05/01/05 02:57 pm Celeste, you hit it right on the head or, "spot on" for our English cousins :-). My only concern is that Betty05 doesn't seem to be away from the nest any extended periods of time. Is she that much a better fisherman than is Dennis05? Or is he just hangin' out with the guys after his meals?
Celeste 05/01/05 03:01 pm Hmmmm....Ron, well as you know women carry a heavy burden in life, as we are ALWAYS RIGHT! sooooooo, she is probably very efficient in all that she does......as for Dennis, I would suspect he shoots the breeze a lot.....
RonS 05/01/05 03:23 pm Ah, yes, And you ladies are ever so modest about it, also. :-]
Tiger 05/01/05 03:24 pm Am I the only one who is not too concerned about Dennis05's fishing ability? I think that he may be making it seem easy.

After all was Dennis04 that good at fishing?? I remember a period in early June last year when fish were arriving at a painfully slow rate and poor Spirit went to bed hungry more than once.
Celeste 05/01/05 03:54 pm No you are not the only one....that's what I meant by my first post in this thread....that we observed similar things prior to the eggs hatching in '04, and in the end favorable conditions I do believe, helped Dennis '04 a great deal. The first year we had a very rainy spring and summer, and as those of us observed that year, there was not enough fish, which fueled aggression in the nest that we really didn't see last year, which resulted in the loss of the third chick. If the third chick from '03 was in the nest in '04 I believe he would have survived. Enough fish...good survival rate of hatchlings. We don't know how good this Dennis is at fishing really...and for that matter do we ever know how any male osprey whose nests we have observed level of fishing is. All we can go by is what is brought to the nest, and so far I do believe the only thing we can hope for is supply and weather conditions surrounding the nests we observe.
On the other hand, perhaps we are in for "new" learning experiences this year. The scenario can be good weather, good supply of fish, and yet this Dennis may take a while for all the right things to click in for him if indeed he is as immature as we think he could be.......chicks calling for food, hen calling etc...all things that if he is immature he has to have the maturity to understand what is expected of him as the provider during mating season.
I have seen in Canada osprey fish and get one the first try, vs another osprey who must try several times to get a fish. Was I witnessing a young osprey first learning, or two osprey the same age? So many questions when one is observing. If one can watch the male actually fish, then I guess we can guess who has more experience or not.

Every year brings new learning experiences, and another set of questions, doesn't it.....?
RonS 05/01/05 04:35 pm But isn't this precisely the thing that make this DPOF site a unique observing/learning/teaching experience? In nature things are always in a state of flux. Here the only constant we have is the location itself. As we all contribute to the accumulating body of knowledge located here, we will indeed change what is "known" about the Osprey. This is what is both scary and thrilling about David Gessner's observation to us last year, that we are the experts and we are seeing behavior heretofore unknown.
Cecilia 05/01/05 05:06 pm I agree with Ron and Celeste... :-)

On one hand I worry that Betty, who could indeed be an excellent fisher, is never away from the nest long enough to catch and eat a fish (at least it seems to me). And if she were catching and eating, I would be surprised if she didn't bring some of her catch back to the nest...which I don't think we have seen. That leaves me think that she is living on what Dennis has been bringing in lately (not much) and that makes me nervous :-(

Dennis 04 seemed to have remarkable fishing success. I believe that he was bringing 4 or 5 fish a day, on an average, to the nest after the chicks had hatched. I'm not sure that we were all as attuned to their pre-hatching eating habits last year as we are this year...but I think our instincts are generally good...Dennis 05 is not nearly as experienced or generous or successful or lucky (or whatever) as Dennis 04...and consequently he is not providing for Betty in any consistent manner.

And Betty 05...is much less vocal, much softer and less of a "fishwife" (okay, don't start on me) than Betty 04 was. She may be starving for all we know and yet she has hardly complained. It's pretty amazing when you consider that most of us had to turn down our sound at one point or another, last year, when Betty's screeching got on our nerves.

So will Dennis 05 respond to 4 hungry chicks and perhaps a more desperate female? No telling. As Ron said...all we can do is wait, watch and record. I'd forgotten about Gessner's comment (thanks Ron) but I'm sure he was right. Cams like this one are rewriting the book (or confirming in some cases) and we're just the lucky people who care enough to be here to record what happens every day in this fascinating nest!

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006