A Leap Of Faith

Thursday, May 18, 2006
It is not easy being a knucklehead. It is especially difficult when one realizes we knuckleheads are intellectually inferior to birdbrains - even buzzardbrains for that matter.

I have not yet found a rapid and reliable way to determine the gender of My Favorite Ospreys. So I rely on time-honored male chauvanism. If it is in flight I declare it the male and if it is at the nest I declare it the female. The times and durations when I notice them both either anest or alight have been so few and far between that sheer randomness is sufficient.

Today My Personal Ospreys were behaving quite unusually - at least to my experience and limited knowledge. Seeing her sitting on the edge of the nest wasn't unusual. Him being nearby - next tower over - while she was minding the nest was unusual. The only times I've seen them stick relatively close together was when they arrived and had some serious nest keeping and repair to manage and just a day or three ago when they seemed intent on running Combat Air Patrol over a nearby turkey buzzard aerial linedance routine. Typical behavior seems to be one minds the nest while the other has Gone Fishin'.

A while later I came back into observational range of the tower area and noticed a large bird circling rather low to the ground, got glass on him, and discovered it was My Osprey. Why on earth was he circling so low? I had no idea but he is clearly circling around and gaining altitude. She was still hanging out drying her talons or whatever she does when she just sits there (Oprah?).

This was the nice back-stretch where I can keep an eye on things for a while, so I was happy that he was circling around and seemingly heading for nest altitude. Why he would circle to accomplish that... what do I know?

When he finally did reach nest altitude he circled around a couplethree times and then did precisely what I was hoping he'd do. He headed for the nest when I had plenty of time to get the glasses on him and focused. I especially like seeing them, through the glasses, land or take off. It is a spectacle and not all that frequently spotted. And this time she was waiting at home to give him a peck on the cheek and ask him how his day was! A regular Osprey Knows Best episode just for Yours Truly. Maybe he had a fish or something I had failed to notice all ready to deliver to her fyring pan.

Well, the whole darned thing went far better than I could have even imagined hoping for. He did a "touch and go" and she got right up off her feathered arse and took wing. A touch and go landing and a takeoff all right there in the span of no more than two stinking seconds and me with the front row, center seat. After a couple moments the two of them sorta got together and took to circling up there around the nest. No buzzards or anything I could spot that they seemed to be on guard about.

I kept an eye on them for a while and then noticed the little head poking up and disappearing in the nest. Yuppers!

"Houston, we have Ospring!"

"Roger that, Dumbass One."

A few moments later I noticed that My Helpless Little Ospring Chick was up on the side of the nest. And it twarn't exactly a little chick. Looked like a darned large bird to me. Definitely osprey. But Mom and Dad were still circling right there where I could see 'em. Definitely Ospring unless mother-in-law was in town or somesuch.

Eventually, of course, even a knucklehead can figure out what a common buzzard knows. It helped to see the Ospring on the nest sorta tentatively flapping its wings while Mom and Dad circle around and demo some touch and goes. I wish I could have hung around to see if the leap happened anytime soon.

I'd found it interesting, but puzzling in my knuckleheaded way, that the turkey buzzards had been collecting around in unusual numbers the past two or three days and even alighting with regularity. I supposed that perhaps they were waiting for something to be dropped or fall from the nest. They were doing precisely that. It is equally interesting, and equally puzzling, that now when the possibility of that seems as maximized as it will ever get, no buzzards anywhere. I guess they know that at some point the leap s a done deal, a no brainer, and all but guaranteed to be successful.

16 comments:

Skookumchuk said...

Interesting tower in the last set of photos. Are you in a flight path?

chuck said...

Knuck,

You know you have to finish this story, right? You can't leave us hanging 184' in the air.

Knucklehead said...

Skook,

I am (depending on the weather) but it has nothing to do with those towers. Those babies were put there for comms experiments. There are the remnants of hoists and such at the bases of them which leads me to believe that various sorts of sensors and targets were once hoisted up to the booms.

The site was used for the earliest radio-telephony experiments. I can't say for sure those particular towers were there at the time as I was but a... never mind. The first ship-shore (actually shore-ship and then vicey-versey) radio-telephony communication was done from there. About 6 or 7 miles as the osprey flies will get ya' to where the Big Bang (or the "echo" anyway) was "discovered") ;)

Skookumchuk said...

knucklehead:

A New Jersey guy, huh?

Deals Beach and the SS America? Arno Penzias at Crawford Hill?

Am I warm?

Knucklehead said...

You're flamin', Skook, absolutely aflame. I actually met Arno once, for a moment. I was supposed to hear him speak but had to deal with something or other that came up.

Thanks for the Kestrel pictures guys! I didn't get a chance to scope out the little sucker today. Either he didn't visit or I missed him. Everything seems right except that I haven't been able to spot any color other than the tannish brown and the white. I figure I'd have been able to spot blue on the wings or head. Could be just another dull male or I just haven't gotten the proper angle on him yet.

Knucklehead said...

Here's a brief history of the primary hunting grounds. There are some prize specimen whitetail bucks in there also. Doe and fawns are a dime a dozen although they've been hiding more than usual lately. Probably means some megadisaster is on the way - most likely that tsunami from the Canaries. What I do with my snorkel?

Skookumchuk said...

knucklehead:

Probably means some megadisaster is on the way

Overtime! Overtime!

Maybe I could pay for a pool in the back yard.

Knucklehead said...

Hurry and move here and your backyard will be a pool! I'm a couple miles from the ocean and I'm patiently waiting for global warming to convert my little piece o' paradise into waterfront.

Knucklehead said...

BTW, Skook, if the TV shows are any indication, you'll be begging for a day off by the end of July. A megatornado is going to level Dallas, its a race between tsunamis and megahurricanes to see what wipes out the east coast first. The megavolcano is going to take out everything within a thousand miles of Yosemite (must be pronounced the Yargbian way... Yoas-a-might), San Fran is going to get the 11.5 earthquake, and you guys there in the NW are getting your own tsunami that'll flood everything all the way to Idaho. And for good measure we'll get some megameteors slamming into us.

It is not going to be a good summer. Fortunately all this stuff seems like it will only hit the US, so you can just dive over the border into Canukistan. I'm gonna have to take my chances in Pennsyltuckey.

Morgan said...

Oh, sure, no TV disasters here in flyover country. Everyone's all like "who'd watch a show about mutant megafrogs climbing out of the Mississippi and overrunning Wood River, Illinois?", huh. Well, I would. I freakin' would.

Coastalists!

Knucklehead said...

Oops! Word to the wise, Skook. Don't go to Quebec. I forgot they're due for a mega-icestorm.

Morgan,

Surely you're getting nasty floods one way or another. That and giant locusts.

Morgan said...

We had helicopter-sized locusts yesterday. Or they might have been grasshoppers, I don't know. I wasn't sticking around to find out.

chuck said...

Maybe they were helicopters. What color were they?

Morgan said...

Kinda grey. The black ones are always flying over the Ozarks.

Knucklehead said...

Morgan,

If you was to stick around to find out, what would you look for?

Morgan said...

Locust poop is caustic. Or that's what my mother used to say when she was singing me to sleep.

Locust poop
Burns your skin
Makes your hair catch
on fire

But your momma's
got a gun
Don't you worry 'bout
no bugs