Nest Vacated

Osprey Redecorating Nest

Yesterday morning I returned to the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nest which, for the third consecutive year, was co-opted by a pair of Canada geese (Branta canadensis). See: Sublet Osprey Nest 03-31-2017

There were two Canada geese inside the nest, not the usual single goose,  and they were acting differently. Meanwhile two osprey were circling above the nest. One goose stood on the edge of the nest and honked continuously for at least ten minutes while I watched. Although I could not see any goslings, I KNEW today was the day the goslings were going to leave the nest. Unfortunately I had a commitment and could not stay to watch the goslings plunge the long distance to the ground.

Two hours later I returned to the nest. The geese were gone and the osprey were beginning to add sticks to the nest – “redecorating” before beginning their brood.

I searched beneath the snag on which the nest is built and found a still warm, but dead, gosling. When I checked Crystal Lake (Shasta County CA), the nearest water, I could not see the parents and their goslings, although there is much shoreline I was unable to get to today. I will look for the parents and their goslings again. Although one gosling did not survive, I assume three of four, at least, are swimming around Crystal Lake with their parents.

Now it is the ospreys’ turn to raise their young in the dual-purpose nest. Look closely at the photograph. A stick is visible in the osprey’s talons.


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Mountain Violet

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Mountain violets (Viola purpurea) are native perennials found in the western United States and British Columbia. The gravelly soil of exposed mountain slopes, grasslands and meadows up to 8,000′ elevation are their preferred habitat. With over eight subspecies, mountain violets … Continue reading

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First Goslings

First Goslings

For years a friend and I had an informal competition each spring to see who could locate the first goslings of the season. Although Dave and I no longer continue that rivalry, I continue to search for the first goslings of the season.

This year I saw my first goslings on April 15th – in time for Easter. Actually several Canada goose (Branta  canadensis) pairs recently hatched their goslings at Baum Lake (Shasta County CA). In addition to this pair, there were three other sets of parents and goslings – all approximately the same age. The goslings are so cute.

For those who follow my posts: The Canada geese still occupy the osprey nest near Crystal Lake (Shasta County CA). When I checked on the 15th the female remained on her eggs while the male stood watch nearby. Perching on branches in nearby ponderosa pines were two osprey. When I approached, the osprey both circled over the goose on “their” nest while making their distinctive calls. The osprey never bothered the goose and eventually flew back to their trees.  If I anthropomorphize, I can imagine that the osprey are reminding the goose to hurry up and vacate the nest so they can begin to raise their family. See the beginning of this story at “Sublet Osprey Nest” on 03-31-2017.

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Spring Gold

This gallery contains 7 photos.

A long, wet winter has advantages. After several years of drought, Leonard and I are seeing and enjoying an unusual abundance of wildflowers. Although one must look in and around the sagebrush on the slopes near the Pronghorn Parking Lot … Continue reading

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The Eagle and the Raven

Bald Eagle and Raven

While driving along County Road 87 to the west of Adin CA (Modoc County), Leonard and I noticed what, to us, was an unusual sight. On two adjacent fence posts sat a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and a common raven (Corvus corax). The raven was eating something and the bald eagle had nothing to eat, yet was not harassing the raven.

Bald eagles are notorious for going after other animal’s catches. They will hound an osprey carrying a fish until the osprey drops the fish, or the eagle will even grab a fish from the osprey’s talons. Eagles pursue vultures until the vultures disgorge their food. At carrion, bald eagles drive away other scavengers. Only ravens are capable of holding their own against bald eagles.

We watched the pair for a few minutes and the eagle never bothered the feasting raven, which made us curious. Why was this notorious food thief not harrying the raven? Perhaps the single raven was a match for the bald eagle. Another possibility is that the eagle was sated. As Oregon ground squirrels become active in the spring, local farmers aggressively hunt the squirrels and leave their corpses in the fields, including the field where the raven and eagle perched. Maybe the eagle was not hungry and thus did not bother the raven’s prize.

Whatever the reason, Leonard and I found it interesting that the bald eagle was not hounding the raven and its meal.

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Collecting Mud

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) historically built their nests on cliff faces or escarpments throughout large portions of North America. Now these social birds also use overpasses, buildings, bridges or other man-made structures for their nests, anywhere there is a juncture … Continue reading

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Stunned Red-tailed Hawk

Stunned Red-tailed Hawk

Recently along Cassel Road (Shasta County CA) Leonard and I noticed a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) lying along the shoulder. The hawk was alive, but appeared to have been hit by a vehicle. We drove down the road, turned around and returned to check on the hawk. As we approached on the opposite side of the road, the hawk flew across the road and into a nearby tree – rather wobbly but it did not appear to have a broken wing. There was a perfect place to pull off the road and watch the injured hawk.

The hawk sat immobile in the tree with its wings partially spread for over 15 minutes. Finally the hawk slowly began to close its wings. Eventually Leonard and I continued on our way assuming that the hawk was only stunned and would eventually recover.

Several hours later we returned to find the red-tailed hawk no longer in the tree. Leonard and I search all the nearby trees and the area around the tree where the hawk was recovering. The hawk was not to be found. Our assumption is that the red-tail eventually regained his equilibrium and recovered without intervention.

A happy ending, unlike so many others, to a story of an injured hawk.




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