Big Bob’s intimidation didn’t work

It was not my intention to send out another newsletter so quickly on the heels of the last one but, I think that this is a joyful event to celebrate. I have seen it several times in the past few days but this is the clearest example I can muster up.

Big Bob on the Port Lincoln Osprey nest has, for the past few days, been trying to establish its dominance on the nest. It spent some time pecking at Little Bob’s neck the other day and a couple of people wondered if Little Bob’s neck was OK. It was.

Today is 27 September. These are the hatch times.

  • Big Bob hatched on 13 September at 22:03
  • Middle Bob hatched on 14 September at 02:30
  • Little Bob hatched on 16 September at 00:51

There is only 5 hours and 45 minutes between Big and Little Bob in terms of hatch times. There is 51 hours (roughly) between the hatch times of Big and Little Bob. Those close hatch times should give the chicks an edge in survival.

The osplets are eating more fish at a meal and the meal times now last for an hour (or close to it) or til the fish is almost totally consumed. So this morning the osplets were hungry.

Dad delivered a fish to the nest at 8:52:42 following much fish calling by Mum. It was not a huge fish but it is a pretty nice fish to start the day.

In the line up below, are Little Bob on the left, Middle in the middle, and Big Bob on the right. Little still looks lighter in this light.

Despite the fish being on the nest, Big Bob went after Little Bob several times until 8:56:45. Middle Bob just tries to get out of the way after staring at Big Bob in the image below.

Little moved and Big followed but, it didn’t work! Right after the 8:56:45 incident, all three are lined up to eat breakfast.

And by now you should know who ate first —– if you said Little Bob you are 100% correct. The older two are waiting their turn.

The feeding was stopped by Mum at 9:21:00. The remaining fish was still on the nest.

If Ospreys can ‘feel silly’ like humans, Big Bob wasted precious feeding time while Mum stood on the fish. What if she had eaten it? or flown off with it? I suppose she wouldn’t. Mum is hardwired to feed these chicks and brood them.

What is interesting to me is that Little Bob would not be intimidated by Big Bob. Little went right up there and took its place at the table eating first. Indeed, I did not count the bites but Little got more food than Big. That might account for its growth. Indeed, some of the chatters could not tell Little from Big today. If you look at the back of the three necks, the peachy-copper feathers coming in on Little are slightly shorter than those of Big and Middle. At a certain angle, the overall plumage of Little looks lighter.

Will we be able to tell them apart tomorrow? That is the 64 million dollar question.

Dad brings in another fish at 10:12:28. Mum takes it – it is relatively small.

The osplets are sleeping, sort of. They raise their heads but their crops are still full from the earlier feeding.

Mom offers a piece of fish to Middle Bob at 10:12:45. Middle raises its head and takes it but it is still like a duck and not standing.

Big and Little are still sleepy. Big gets up and starts being fed at 10:13:33.

Middle stops eating and Little does some clever moves to get over by Big and get some bites. I wonder if Little didn’t want Big to notice?

At 10:14:48 Little is being fed.

The feeding ends at 10:22:46. Everyone is full.

The cam operator moved in close. This is Little Bob. Notice that the coppery-peach feathers are very short. Take a good look. Tomorrow they will be longer. These chicks are all in the reptile stage.

Many books will state that the reptile stage begins at week 3 but these osplets are early. Little Bob is only eleven days old – hatched 00:51 16 September. Their pin feathers are definitely developing. You can see those in the close up images below. They are still able to fit under Mum so she can brood them but often you will see their heads sticking out. Big Bob actually slept out from under Mom for awhile. They still mostly sleep and eat. Soon they will become interested in the world beyond the nest — and they are going to spend a lot of time preening! Those pin feathers are itchy or so humans say. I have never had a chat with an Osprey about them!

Enjoy the close ups. Thanks cam op!

What a beautiful Babe. There is still the hint of the egg tooth at the end of the beak. In the image below you can see that the feathers on the neck at the back of the head are longer on the sibling facing away from us. Compare those with Little Bob’s who is in the middle.

You can also see their nice crops. These osplets have been well fed this morning.

There is still some fish from the first feeding on the nest at 2 o’clock. The rest of the second fish is at 8 o’clock.

It has been a good morning on the Port Lincoln Osprey Nest. It is thrilling to see Little Bob thwart Big’s efforts to control the nest. It will be even more intriguing as this next week goes by as to the similarities that come between the three of them.

Thank you for stopping in again and indulging me in my love of Ospreys. I so want this family to succeed this year – and I want another third hatch to be clever and thrive. Take care everyone. Stay safe!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.

Featured Image: A close up of Little Bob.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks so much Mary Ann for the late newsletter! Indeed it is a great one! The photos and info make us feel
    So much better and have a relaxing night.
    Good night and take care!

    1. You are so very welcome, Linda. I just love watching Little Bob. Today, he was at the right side of the nest awake and waiting for the fish with Mom. He ‘ran’ to get there first while the other two took their time. He is doing very well. The parents brought some blackish material to the nest. I find it interesting. Do they do this every year when the chicks get to be reptiles? We know they are smart so I am thinking yes. How is your squirrel, Linda? I meant to ask you.

  2. Salliane says:

    It is amazing about the dynamics you find at each nest.
    I am glad there is enough fish available for everyone. That would ensure Little Bob’s survival.

    Thanks for sharing the great photos!!!!

    1. It is, isn’t it? Often I find that the bird families are just like human families. All kinds of characters and personalities. This Little Bob is not taking any of it. For a few days, much earlier, he was submissive, but now it is like he simply ignores the big sib. Middle Bob tends to just stay out of the way. But so far, the rivalry/control issues just seem to surface quickly and evaporate. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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