Ozzie was delighted and relieved when he saw the Taj Mahal. He still remembers the spring of 2011 when The Red Channel Marker was gone.
“I see the Doctor has been busy this winter.”
Ospreys like nest sites in open surroundings for easy approach, with a wide, sturdy base and safety from ground predators (such as raccoons). Usually the male finds the site before the female arrives.
Ozzie arrived on Pi Day, March 14, 2015. Last year he arrived March 8 and Harriett quickly arrived 2 and a half days later.
“It’s been 6 days now,” squawked Ozzie. “Where are you Harriett?”
Harriet had made an extra stopover in The Villages, near Orlando Florida. She has a friend there named Vicki with whom she could not resist sharing some risque gossip. Vicki’s nest was still in good shape and her mate had yet to arrive. She was a bit worried he may have perished over the winter, but more likely she thought he was hanging out in Havana with a few of his friends. Harriett and Vicki started playing that card game and lost track of time. They were playing IMP’s. Harriett kept winning +36 to -36 and +42 to -42 and even +64 to -64; but Vicki, as always, was a gracious and respectful opponent, a shining example of friendly conduct.
How did she get so good, thought Vicki. “Certainly not by playing with the Doctor.”
What happens when one mate migrates back to the nest before the other?
The longer the time interval between mates’ arrival at the breeding site, the more likely it is that the first to arrive will attract or be attracted to a new mate. Yes, Ospreys do mate for life as far as we know, but that bond needs to be reinforced each spring by the arrival of the second mate. If too much time elapses, a bird will accept another mate, since the instinct to breed is far greater – and more important – than the instinct to wait for a mate that may have perished over the winter.
Pay attention, Harriett!