Osprey collecting sticks for nest

on 8th January 2010

Ding Carpio from of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines encountered an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) carrying twigs on 19th December 2009 and again on 2nd January 2010.

“I noticed in two out of three recent trips to the La Mesa reservoir a peculiar behavior of an Osprey. It picks up a rather large stick/branch and flies around with it (left top). In both occasions, there were other Ospreys darting about. On the second occasion, another Osprey was apparently attacking (or playing with?) this stick-bearing Osprey,” wrote Ding. “…we actually saw the Osprey fly to a treetop and snatch off the branch (left bottom).
 Is this some part of a ritual? Or does an Osprey really bandy about a stick before taking to its nest-in-construction?”

Ospreys usually build their nests in tall trees, especially emergent trees that are dead and with broken off branches. The nest would thus be fully exposed, with the raptor having a clear view of the surroundings.

The nest is made of large sticks, twigs, driftwood and even seaweeds. New materials are added throughout the breeding season and as the nests are reused year after year, new materials are added. With time the nest may become a huge structure, sometimes becoming two metres deep.

Both sexes help in nest construction. They start off with large sticks, forcible breaking them off trees and flying off or picking up the sticks should they fall to the ground. These birds are sometimes robbed of their sticks by other Ospreys.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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