Osprey Family Matters

While I was in Banff National Park  this week, I stopped by an osprey nest along the Bow River. It is used every year and I always visit to see how the family is doing. On this day, the female was on the nest with only the top of her head visible. I walked down to the river and found the male sitting in a tree. Quite a handsome fellow!

Male osprey

Male osprey

The brown necklace on the breast is more frequently found on the female, but this bird was acting like a male, hanging around, not doing much of anything; I mean male ospreys, not all males! He spent a lot of  time meticulously grooming.


After ninety minutes of waiting for something to happen, I headed back to the road, only to hear the female call. The bird flew to her, and of course, I missed a good shot. I walked below the nest and was able to see both birds. They were carrying on an animated conversation.

Female on nest, male on edge.

Female on nest, male on edge.

Nothing much happened for a few minutes, and then there was a great deal of flapping as one bird departed. The whole sequence lasted about three seconds, and I simply put the camera on burst. When I first looked at the photos on  the camera’s view screen, I thought that I had captured a mating. Only later, as I tried to sort out body parts, did I decide that in fact, the two birds were simply changing places. I hope that someone with more expertise in osprey matters will settle the issue.


Female moves to side, male enters nest



Female lifts off