Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flew the Coop!

There is a little family who live in a very big nest, on the top of a very tall pole, at the mouth of the Hellgate Canyon and they captivate me and countless others as they live their lives each season. Mom arrives first, followed by her devoted husband and then we wait for the babies. These are the Hellgate Ospreys. (Named by heads of the Osprey study: Iris, Stan and their children, Crown Royal, Captain Hook and Squish.)

This year, like last year, they had some difficulties. Mom arrived (Iris) and hubby but then we were sad to hear that hubby had gotten killed. We all wondered what would happen, would the nest stay silent? But Iris headed out and found herself a might younger man to fit the bill (Stan). Stan was named as such, because he was "the Man". Not only did he give her three babies, but boy, could he fish. Through the long hot summer, he brought all sorts of delectable fish to the babies, while Iris played "Sunbrella" and kept the chicks safe from predators. All of the chicks lived this year and thrived. Since there was plenty of food, we didn't have the older chicks attacking the youngest which had happened the year before. That was a relief. We really only had a couple of mishaps this year. One chick (Captain Hook) ended up getting tangled in a bit of line and a fish hook and the docs had to come out and remove it from his foot. They usually do not interfere with the birds lives, but this was a man-made problem so they stepped in. Whew, and we were all glad they did. We all watched while the oldest made his first attempts at flying (named for a whiskey bag that was brought back to the nest as bedding...LOL) and cheered on Squish, the youngest (his siblings were always lying on him) as he fought to get his food and his place in the roster. Hook fledged first and then Royal, but Royal received a wing injury. So she stayed close to the nest until it healed. Before we knew it, Iris and Hook had migrated. Squish, Royal and Stan stayed at the nest where he still fed his "teens" and one day Squish was ready to leave. For days Stan fished and fed Royal, and I like to think, he knew she was injured and wouldn't leave her. About a week ago, they both left the nest for the last time. Heading South the way the others had gone. And tho it is now sad to watch the now empty nest, it is also very satisfying.

I will miss them, but I will be eagerly waiting for the return of Iris and Stan and another season come Spring. I wish them safe travels. Always, Kit


Diane said...

Love hearing about the birds Kit. They are so beautiful. Diane

Junell said...

Such a sweet tribute to the Osprey birds. It's almost like a tv drama. Lol. :)

Pom Pom said...

Oh, they are so gorgeous! YOU have a loving heart, Kit!

lizzy said...

Wonderful post! I have two osprey nests I watch here at the beach...but they are far out in the marshes, no close up pix. names. lol.
I hope your little family travels safely and returns each year. Keep me posted!
thank you for a great story!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Darlings. They will no doubt be missed.

susie said...

I would miss this wonderful family must be so great to see them return each spring!!
Thanks for sharing your pictures & this awesome story!!