The Travels of Tug 44

Osprey Mating

I have been watching this roadside Osprey Nest in Fort Edward for a decade, and every year the Osprey couple returns and produces several young, and they always have success in raising them to the age of being independent. But this day, mid-April 2019, we arrived at a dramatic moment! We heard the female (on the left) was calling continuously, "cheeeep cheeeep cheeep". Normally this only happens when someone walks too close to the nest ... but this time it was the female's actual mating call. That's the male on the right, and he has a really surprised look on his face. He dropped the fish he was eating and lifted off into the air ...   high-res

The male Osprey flew in a large circle, directly over our car, and then back to the nest where he landed on the female's back!   high-res

Here we see his enormous claws are curled into a ball, so he will not injure the female. And being unable to hang on, means he must keep flapping continuously to hold himself in place.   high-res

After much flapping and adjusting his position, the Osprey couple completes the act, which lasts just a few seconds. And after that, the male flew off and sat in a tree. They repeat this several times every day. And sure enough, a week later the female was sitting on eggs, and the next generation of Ospreys was on the way.   high-res

The Osprey, a heavily armed predator with a very careful mating procedure.

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