A little history of our snag, situated near the garages: It has been with Coho since the beginning. It was topped off with a nice flat area that has been used by larger birds like turkey vultures and osprey to eat and mate for years, but until last summer, as the tree was nearing the end of its life after death period, no one had ever built a nest on that flat top. Last year (2022) a kestrel family nested in a cavity halfway down the snag. We delighted in watching the chicks make like monkeys up and down the branches, often waiting to be fed on the flat top. After the kestrels fledged, an osprey family, two adults and two young fledglings (we think), built the first nest on top of the snag before migrating. It was judged, from the ground, to be a rather half-baked nest.
In the spring of 2023, the kestrels returned to their cavity. On March 23, I witnessed them mating on top of the osprey nest. Approximately two weeks later, the osprey arrived and began tidying up their nest. I witnessed them mating on the nest, after they had fixed it up a bit. (Wish I had noted the date!) Valerie (and possibly others) saw two Canada Geese kicking the osprey nest down. Betty posted about this incident on the Midvalley naturalist list on April 20th. (I had noticed a couple of very noisy geese flying from Crystal Lake low over Coho daily for about a week or so prior to the attack on the nest. The geese disappeared after the incident.) The osprey subsequently rebuilt the nest and have occupied it since, much to the annoyance of the kestrels. On many occasions the kestrel parents have been seen swooping at the osprey nest, kee-kee-keeing. And while we have observed kestrels returning to their nest with food for babies, this year the chicks are staying put in their cavity, instead of hopping from limb to limb all over the snag. Twice late last week, I noticed excited kestrel kee-kee-keeing in the trees bordering the cemetery on Crystal Lake Drive. Could they be defending fledges?
On occasion, other adult osprey have been seen around the osprey nest. We wonder if they are the fledges from last year? We have observed ‘tending behavior,’ as opposed to sitting on eggs, for well over a month. Jeremy noted the tending behavior as early as June 10th. Lots of reports of baby heads seen and photos taken only to turn out to be two adults in the nest together–until today! Our first documented chick siting, and we are proud neighbors!