Ospreys have begun to return to Brooklyn and on Sunday we had our first sightings of the year: a pair already well into breeding festivities. The sun’s in the way, but you can just see a fish here under this female’s right foot. As she fed, the male went off fishing for sticks. He picked some material off the meadow. But the majority of his forays were towards a nearby row of cottonwoods, which he hovered over searching for suitable twigs and branches. You could see him eyeball some possibilities and then rise above them. Others, he grabbed and broke off. The above was one of his biggest finds, which he just barely got back to the platform. It hung from the edge for a bit before falling into the water; it was not retrieved.He made a half dozen trips. By then the female was finished with her sushi.The birds mated twice. Some Oystercatchers nearby were also so inclined. Even on a Sunday morning, bird sex far from a leisurely activity; if you blink you’ll miss it. And then back to fiddling with the nest.
This is one of the least-remote osprey platforms I know of in the city. People run and walk around the Salt Marsh path all day long and that doesn’t seem to bother the birds, who are presumably far enough away across a tidal mire. However, a pair of dog-walkers had their dog-off leash and it was going off the path and down into the marsh. That could be stressful enough to spook the birds off the nest permanently. I spoke with them politely before they turned the corner and got closer to the nest. For a change they didn’t tell me to fuck off, but I’m not sure they actually leashed the animal afterwards, since it was well in advance of them by then. Dogs aren’t supposed to be off-leash anywhere in the city except for specified dog runs. One would think that a “nature center” would be doubly obvious as a place to keep them leashed. But that thought would require… thought.