Aggressive Ospreys Evict Great Blue Heron Nesting Pair

Former Great Blue Heron Nesters

 Osprey Pair That Evicted Herons

An aggressive pair of ospreys evicted a heron couple from their nest in the Great Blue Heron Rookery in Marion, Massachusetts.  The herons had arrived in late March and began to assemble their nest in a dead white pine tree at the edge of a freshwater pond.  Turtle Journal documented building of this heron nest in a video that can be seen by clicking here.

(See also  Great Blue Heron Rookery on Massachusetts South Coast and Nest Building at the Great Blue Heron Rookery.)

Osprey Pair Guarding Nest

Ospreys employed aggressive harassment to force the heron couple to leave and to take position of the nest for themselves.  Once in control, they significantly reinforced the existing heron nest.  We observe that both ospreys frequently leave the nest, presumably to fish.  One often lingers on the top of a nearby tree where it can observe its own nest, as well as activity in neighboring great blue heron nests.  Two heron nests still remain occupied within fifty feet of the osprey pair.  Several other heron nests are scattered in tree tops around this woody wetlands.

Great Blue Heron Gets Attacked by Osprey

While watching on Friday, Turtle Journal observed another harassment incident.  A great blue heron (as pictured above) returned to one of the nests close to the osprey pair.  He had a stick in his claw to reinforce his nest.  An osprey zoomed from its watch perch and swooped down directly at the heron; it slammed on its air brakes to hover face-to-face within feet of the heron, screeching at full volume.  The heron squawked, dropped the stick and flew away toward the far end of the pond … with the osprey zigzagging over him all the way.

Osprey on Former Great Blue Heron Nest

This osprey pair remains firmly in control of the former great blue heron nest and in command of the entire surrounding area.


Osprey Brings Home the “Bacon”

As we watch, ospreys often return to the nest with “takeout” food (usually a fresh fish) that they pick up in nearby Sippican Harbor to eat in the comfort of their commandeered home.

Comments are closed.