In recent days our male, LM12, hasn’t been bringing many fish to the nest – and we hear this is gaining him a bad reputation! Even though this is out of character for LM12 there’s no need to be alarmed as long-term Osprey research has found that during incubation there is no increase in the amount of fish being brought to the nest (Poole, 1989). We also have a strong suspicion that LF15 is still fishing independently.
The Species Protection Team monitors the pair 24/7, meaning we see all of the little details that aren’t always caught on OspreyCam. Our first clue to this behaviour is that LM12 hasn’t brought LF15 a fish for 3 days now, however our female isn’t losing condition and looks just as healthy as ever. She rarely calls to LM12 for food and even left a large portion of fish untouched on the nest on 18th April. Another great sign is that she often has a wet chest when she returns for incubation changeover – most likely from fishing! Those lucky enough to visit the hide recently have also seen her washing her talons daily – a behaviour usually recorded following a feed.
We don’t consider fishing separately a bad sign, this independence shows that our female is a strong and resilient bird and is keeping her fishing skills honed for her migration back to Africa in a few months. The pair is also showing a great amount of teamwork with relation to incubation duties, swapping on average 11 times a day this week. Having monitored LF15 through the nights, I can see she is quite a fidget and needs to stretch her wings rather often, so incubation changes are important for her. LM12 is doing a wonderful job taking over incubation duty and is very particular with the nest layout; often rearranging twigs and moss to ensure the job is being done properly.
We also can’t forget that animals of all species have communication methods that we don’t yet understand. If you watch the pair closely you quickly realise that our clumsy male is definitely under the, err… talon! If LF15 was unhappy with his behaviour, she’d definitely let him know, so we hope that for the time being you don’t think too badly of him.
We fully expect LM12 to be catching multiple fish per day when the chicks hatch, but for now these relaxed family dynamics seem to be working for the pair.
Jennifer – Species Protection Officer
Ref: Poole, Alan. F. (1989) Ospreys: A Natural and Unnatural History. Cambridge University Press.