Yesterday I went back to the osprey nest that I plan to observe over the breeding season. As I mentioned earlier, shortly after the first osprey (Pandion haliaetus) returned this spring I saw a single osprey in the nest. I hoped, but was not certain, that this nest atop an old ponderosa pine snag would be occupied by a pair of osprey this year.
It appears as though a pair of osprey is indeed planning on using the nest since they seem to be repairing last year’s nest. Yesterday I watched two birds flying about the nest. My hopes were raised even further when I realized at least one of the osprey was bringing twigs to the nest and arranging them in the bottom. I was a little confused because the male usually gathers the nest material and brings it to the female to arrange. I watched the same bird bring twigs and then arrange them in the nest. Most likely I was the problem. Although I attempted to remain hidden behind a large ponderosa trunk, the osprey knew I was there and were very wary about returning to the nest. Both birds left the nest and then returned one at a time – with and without twigs. Perhaps the male brought the twigs and only positioned them loosely so the female could complete the job once I left. I did not tarry too long so as not to discourage their choice of nesting site.
Although it is impossible for me to see into the nest, in about five or six weeks I should be able to see little heads peeking over the top of the nest.
It was a dark, cold and windy day, not the optimum conditions for photography. I did get one picture with both osprey near the nest together. In two pictures the twigs are visible in the osprey’s talons. The birds also did a lot of wing flapping on the nest as in the final photograph. Note all the acorn woodpecker holes in the snag. I believe the acorn woodpeckers no longer use this granary tree, since there are no acorn woodpeckers to be seen or heard nearby.