Sunday lunch at Captiva Ospreys


Before I begin the morning report on Captiva, sad news. HH4, the sibling to HH3 that fell off the Hilton Head Island nest yesterday, also fell off the nest. The eaglet was noticed to behave oddly before falling over the edge. He has been rescued. If he survived last night, he will go into care this morning. The father brought a fish but the mother has not been seen for a couple of days. This is not the first Bald Eagle nest that has had juveniles falling off the nest or eagles just not being seen. Pembroke Pines have now lost 2 out of 3 eaglets. Our thoughts go out to all of the bird nests at this challenging time. It clearly sounds like the pathogenic Avian flu, H5N1. This is so very, very sad. However, we have to prepare ourselves that so many of the birds may die due to this disease. Our positive wishes go out to everyone working so hard to save these beautiful babies.

Here is the update from the Hilton Head Island Trust.

I am so glad that I did not have the opportunity to check the Captiva Osprey nest until just now when a fish was being delivered. Andy brought it in at 11:59:50. Little Bob worked his way to get to the front. This is the first fish that the chicks and Lena have had in approximately 22 hours. Lena did go for a swim to cool off and the chicks have been outside of the nest bowl this morning. It is so hot on that nest with the air temperature at 24 degrees C and a wind of 11 kph. Oh, I hope Andy manages to bring in some more fish so that everyone is full and hydrated today. They are eating nicely even though each is so very, very hungry including Lena.

Bobs peeking out from under Lena at dawn.

Out of the nest cup and in the shade of Mum. Everyone is hot.

Lena goes for a much deserved dip to cool off.

Andy delivers the first fish of the day to the family at 11:59:50. He did not eat the head.

Lena will fight that bony head to get some food to feed the wee ones quickly.

You can well imagine that being literally empty of food and hot and perhaps even a bit dehydrated that the Bobs were really scrambling for food. Lena is still feeding them at 12:20 and there are no crops to be seen yet. She is pulling really hard to get meat off the fish. Meanwhile, Andy has returned doing security duty and also hoping that there will be some fish left for him, too.

It is so good that this is a very large fish. There is lots for everyone. One of the Bobs (Middle?) seemed that it might have been suffering from the heat. It looked slightly dazed. They should be rehydrated from the moisture of the fish.

The osplets are getting crops. Little Bob has eaten well. He pulled an Ervie and he got right up there at the beginning. Such a relief! I will always worry about those little ones, the third hatch. They cannot hold so much but need to be fed much more often than this. Wonder why the fishing is so bad on the weekend at Captiva?

Lovely crops!

At 12:33 the chicks are still being fed.

One chick is in a food coma and the other two simply want to make sure they get all the fish that they can. I don’t blame them. This nest was steady as you go until yesterday with four big feedings like this one a day – at dawn and nearing 17:00. Now they do not know when there will be another fish delivery.

Little Bob has dropped its crop and is now up in line wanting more fish.

Despite Dad standing and hoping there is some fish for him – and he needs to eat too to have the strength to fish, Lena continues to feed the chicks because she doesn’t know when food will come again either.

Little Bob has a big crop again. This is good. Lena is making sure they are well fed. I hope she is also eating!

You can see the size of the crops growing and growing. Little Bob is so full he fell backwards.

There might be some left for Dad. Maybe.

Just about the time Lena thinks she is finished and Andy figures he might get a couple of bites, Little Bob decides he wants some more fish. This has been the remarkable trait of this mother. She feeds and feeds til every chick is full. That could be the one single reason that the beaking has not been more profound the last couple of days.

At 12:47 Lena offered to feed Andy. It was one of the most moving scenes I have seen on an Osprey nest. She knows that he is also very hungry. He did not ‘just decide’ not to bring fish to the nest. Something has caused the fishing to be ‘off’ this weekend.

It is 12:50 and Lena is still feeding the chicks. She has taken some big bites for herself, too, as the end of the fish draws near. Andy has flown off to hopefully get another fish.

Lena ate the fish tail at 13:01.

If you watched the Achieva Osprey nest last season, you will realize that the chicks at Captiva are so full that they can, if need be, survive until tomorrow without any more fish. I hope that they don’t but they would survive.

Oh, my. Lena went over to clean up the fish skin and Big and Little went over too thinking more fish! Send positive wishes to this nest. They really need another one or two feedings today to keep the stress levels down.

There are pips at Duke Farms and at Dale Hollow but no pip for Jackie and Shadow at Big Bear yet. Let us hope those eggs are viable for those two!

Thank you for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon!

Thank you to the Captiva Osprey Cam and Window on Wildlife and the Hilton Head Island Trust for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my screen captures.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann! Prayers going up for all of them. Hopefully whatever is hendering Andy’s fishing will leave so he can catch like he has been doing. So sad to know about the little HH3 and HH4 survive the fall. If the Mother is missing it sounds like an intruder to me. I hope she returns unharmed and the little ones can return to the nest 🙏❤️🦅❤️🦅💕💕.
    Have a good Sunday afternoon

    1. It seems that it is the boats that are hampering the fishing. They should be gone tomorrow! Fingers crossed. Sadly, it is acting like H5N1. They are searching for her or her body. The chicks are the clue. They appear dizzy, disoriented and do not wish to eat much. Then they flip out of the nest. However, it could also be dehydration. So we wait. The rangers will be trying to contain this. All positive energy their way!

  2. Mary Ann, that’s so sad about the HH eagles. Sounds like maybe the mom is sick as well…. This is the one hard thing about nest watching, when things go so wrong. Crossing fingers that the virus won’t spread any further, though I’m probably being unrealistic to hope.

    Glad there’s good news at the Captiva nest though. (I just checked and there’s another feeding going on.) I do think the weekend boaters affect the fishing. Saw the same thing at the Redding nest last year. Boaters in the river every weekend and the eaglets sometimes went a day without eating.

    Thanks for your continuing reports!

    1. Hi Betty. The mum had not been seen at all for 2 days when the first one fell off the nest. I suspect that she has died somewhere. They really need to find the body or her and the father. This virus has hit the other nest Pembroke Pines. I am assuming it is that H5N1 as it is behaving like it. I hope that they can contain it. Yes, the second feeding at Captiva and Dad ate the head so that is good. I think you are right. There are boats all over the place here. Hopefully tomorrow it will be back to normal. Betty, I am very impressed with the lochs in Scotland. Many with Osprey nests will now allow any humans – even on foot – to be in the area from April to the end of September. Mind you it is easier to contain there. They are all fed and that is important. The male at Dale Hollow is feeding the female. It is so touching.

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