Osprey Diaries: Content but busy

Photo of an osprey standing over three eggsopens IMAGE file

I overhear a lot of humans talking as I sit in my nest and they pass by underneath, so slowly walking on their two legs.

I had been sitting on my three eggs all afternoon when I heard someone mention me from below. They had stopped a little ways away and looked up at our home, one with its odd fingered hand help up to its face like a salute, casting a dark shadow over its white eyes.

It said, “Imagine sitting on those eggs for 40 days and not being able to leave. Animals are so content.”

I am content. I’m content that I have three babies on the way. I’m content that my mate is taking care of me by bringing sticks and sod to help me nestle in. I’m content that he brings me food when I’m hungry and takes over the incubating when I need to leave for a minute.

However, I also have plenty to do.

As my man brings items to the nest, they all need a perfect place. People might not understand with their odd box homes, but osprey nests are truly a thing of beauty. We work hard to decorate them just so and make them absolutely comfortable, not only for me as I incubate my beauties but also for our children when they hatch.

Photo of an osprey holding a stickopens IMAGE file

My mate brings in a rotund stick, and it is placed right along the edge, building up the form. When it has twigs sticking off of it, those are tucked into the other sticks around it, creating a woven effect that is pleasing to the eye. The green and brown sod is tucked inside the stick barrier, the fuzziness comforting to me and the textures make it interesting to the eye. A few corn stalks add variety in the décor.

Although we haven’t done it much, some of my osprey friends have also told me about colorful items they have found to add to their nests. Towels, dolls, hats, rakes — all these items add a little bit of interest and beauty to a nest.

Sometimes we try a spot for our decorations and it’s not quite right, so I have to move it around. Then when I get up to move, maybe a stick falls out of place or the sod slips. Then I have to nestle back onto the eggs and reorganize again. There is always something to move around or something to clean up.

Then I have to spend time turning my eggs, making sure that they are the right temperature and are safe. I have to readjust my wings to make sure the eggs are covered and protected from storms.

Photo of an osprey in a nest with eggsopens IMAGE file

Plus, I have plenty of preening to do. After going a winter away from my mate, I always want to make sure I look nice for him when he stops home. So there is preening to do of my wings and the intricate feathers along my back.

Content, yes. I am certainly content. But people don’t see from their spots on the Earth’s surface how much I have to do.