Letter: Young birds frightened
As in past years, our neighbors and we have enjoyed observing ospreys raising their young on the platform nest opposite our homes on the East River. On Sunday, July 6, for the first time ever, we witnessed a scene we hope never to see again.
A young couple in two kayaks approached the nest site with its trio of yet-to-fledge juveniles. After circling, and despite the adult bird’s shrill cries from above, the couple began harassing the three young birds, calling out and waving a paddle at them from beneath the nest.
The juveniles were so frightened that two of them flew off the nest in terror. My husband rushed outside to warn the couple away. Gradually they withdrew, looking back to observe the one, smallest of the juveniles, alone on the nest. Late in the day, the largest of the juveniles made it back to the nest, but the other young osprey has not been seen.
These young birds were accustomed to Mathews High School and Mobjack rowers further out on the river, but never had any boaters approached or harassed nestlings. Surely this thoughtless young couple knew better than to frighten our revered, protected birds in this uncaring way!
Mary and Bill Newell
UPDATE: Bill Newell called to say that all three juvenile ospreys were back in the nest on Tuesday.