They’re back! Oscar & Opal Osprey Begin Their 18th Season!

I’m delighted to announce the return of our dear Osprey friends, Opal and Oscar.  Yesterday morning’s weather was perfect for a walk at the US Naval Academy.  There was a gentle breeze, sunshine, and temperatures in the low 50s F.

As I’ve done for a week now, I scanned the skies expectantly, looking for my Osprey   friends, who usually return from their winter in the south around St. Patrick’s Day.  And as I approached the football field, flying low over my head, there was Oscar!  (Yes, I know you’re wondering, “How do you know it was he?”  Well, it was the smaller of the two birds, and I wanted to believe that this Osprey was our Osprey.)

Delighted with what I choose to consider my “greeting,” I looked up and over to the 4th light post where Oscar & Opal had always nested, and there she was – Opal, flying toward the pole with a long stick in her talons.  I watched her land, arrange the stick, and fly off again.  Yeah!  I saw both beautiful birds!  They are alive and preparing to start another family!

Working on their nest.

Last fall, I had avoided writing about this amazing couple.  2018 was not a good year for Oscar and Opal.  As you may recall, they arrived 2 weeks late, early April.  Though I heard and saw at least two little fledglings hatch, I did not observe the usual training sessions of parents and fledglings learning to fly and fish over the Severn River and the Annapolis Harbor. We had a very wet and storm summer in Annapolis, and I wondered if I’d simply missed the training sessions.  Suddenly, in late August, Opal and Oscar disappeared!  They usually embark for the South in mid-September,  with their young ones in tow.  But not last year!

I watched the nest carefully, day-after-day, and I think I could hear the familiar peeping of a hungry fledgling. But, Oscar and Opal were gone!  They had deserted their nest, leaving, it seemed to me, one fledgling behind.  I continued to hear the chirping cries for about 4 days, and then no more.  The nest was deserted and silent.  I suspect there was something wrong with the baby Osprey, and the only solution for Opal and Oscar was to leave their nest and their offspring.  Very sad.  And, as a final anguish, around Thanksgiving time, the maintenance staff of the Naval Academy came with their cherry-picker truck and destroyed the nest – took away every last stick, cleared the pole of any remnants of our Osprey couple.

And so, I watched for the Osprey return this spring with a heavy heart, fearing that Oscar and Opal would not be back.  But they are!  And so begins another intriguing chapter in their life’s story.

I look forward to sharing with you, dear reader, their adventures. Stay tuned.

About J. F. Booth

I am a writer and educator.
This entry was posted in Life Lessons, Nature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to They’re back! Oscar & Opal Osprey Begin Their 18th Season!

  1. Mary Kay Honeycutt says:

    I am so happy to know Oscar & Opal are building their new nest and hope to hear about their off spring.

  2. nlg49@charter.net says:

    I’m so glad that they’re back. I always love hearing about them.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I always love hearing about Opal and Oscar. Let’s hope this will be a good year for the family.

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