The words “bird” and “sex” don’t automatically belong together but that has been the spectacle this weekend. Spring has come to the south coast of Massachusetts and osprey love is in the air. A pair of these large, beautiful “fish eagles” is building a nest on a new platform we erected on “our” marsh last fall. Along with the birds’ adding sticks and other nesting materials, there is quite a lot of mating going on. The male is not much into wooing, but he occasionally brings his mate a fish as an enticement. She seems to appreciate it, as she undoubtedly appreciates the fact that he pulls in his talons when he mounts her so as not to tear her to shreds.
An interesting factoid I picked up from Return of the Osprey by David Gessner is that osprey nests are often a hodgepodge of materials: “sections of TV antennae, hula hoops, old flannel shirts, styrofoam cups and bicycle tires.” My favorite is Gessner’s report that “the early neighborhood prize for the most original choice in building material goes to the pair at Chapin Beach, who have added a nearly naked Barbie doll to their nest’s northeast wall.”
Other signs of New England Spring…
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