Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Leap Of Faith

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.


chuck said...


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

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.


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.

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