Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ospreys on a big metal tower

There's a big metal tower thing on a ridge about half a mile or so from our apartment, as the crow flies. I don't know if it's a cell-phone tower or a radio tower or what, but it's big. Anyway, a few days ago, I was looking out of our windows, and I saw a big raptor-type bird fly over and land on the top of this tower, and then I saw it do this again a little while later. The bird was really far away, but it looked like it might have been an Osprey, and I knew that they sometimes nest on man-made structures, which made me wonder whether there might be a nest up there.

So today I decided to be a bird stalker. Paul was kind enough to come with me and act as my getaway driver -- he kept an eye out for people coming to yell at us while we hung around in a random company's parking lot near the foot of the tower with binoculars and cameras. As it turned out, no one came to tell us to leave, and I'm happy to report that the mission was a success!

There were two Ospreys guarding their huge nest up at the top of the tower. Such cool birds! One of the birds was perched on the outer rim of the tower when we first got there (see the above picture), the other on the nest. Then, after much flapping and jostling together (and many blurry pictures), one bird re-settled onto the nest while the other (presumably the male) flew off. He returned a few minutes later with a giant stick to add to the nest, and then was off foraging/hunting again. We left before he came back, but I presume he was successful.

The nest itself was a pretty impressive structure, with lots of big sticks and even what looked like a piece of blue wire thrown into the mix. I find myself wondering whether the Ospreys built this nest from scratch this year, or if it's an older structure that's reused year after year. Either way, this seems to be the perfect perch for the birds, and it's certainly safe (assuming people don't go up there and disturb them). To give an idea of how high up this nest is, here's a picture of the whole tower:

Yeah, that's pretty high.

Incidentally, this trip marks the first time I've driven somewhere solely to track down a specific bird, which I'm pretty sure is another step on the slippery slope toward full-fledged birder (no pun intended). At least this was only half a mile from my house, so I don't think I'm too far gone yet. :P And in any case, it was fun. :)

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