The Osprey Have Chosen

The osprey have chosen.

An osprey (plural: osprey, which creates some confusion) is a large raptor bird that runs shit out here on the Chesapeake Bay. They build their giant nests on top of elevated platforms out of the biggest sticks they can get airborne, because the osprey hunt so goddamn much that the female doesn’t have time to sit around on her butt and warm eggs. Thus, they build a nest big enough to keep the eggs warm enough just by itself, then go out and massacre more fish.

Look at how freaking huge this bird is! Also he’s staring directly at the camera. “Don’t even think about this fish, you fucker. It’s mine.”

Anyway, this is a problem, because an osprey pair have chosen the roof of our fishing boat – which, to be fair to the birds, is an ideally-sized platform for an osprey nest – as their home. This means that every time we go out to the boat, we have to spend some time throwing man-sized branches off the top while the osprey, perched on a nearby piling, screech angrily at us.

In doing his best Mr. Fixit impression, my dad decided to create environmental barriers to the osprey nest. He strung bungee cords in a mini-web along the top of the boat, ostensibly to break up the flat shape and make it less attractive.

But like I said, the osprey have chosen, and they are hell-bent on making this boat their casa. In fact, it turns out that the bungee cords improved the boat roof’s appeal, because the osprey can somehow – I really have no idea how a species sans opposable thumbs can do this – wedge these huge branches underneath the bungee cords, creating a more secure foundation for their nest. We basically supplied the osprey with the Osprey Nest version of concrete. And it definitely made it harder to remove the branches themselves.

So the bungee cord experiment failed. The osprey have chosen.

This is what our boat would look like, if left unchecked.

Despite our best efforts to stay one step ahead of the birds, the osprey have apparently decided to consecrate their oft-destroyed home with their first meal. Upon reaching the boat one morning, we noticed the strong stench of dead animal. The newlyweds had eaten a large fish atop our boat and thoughtfully left the innards for us to smell. We had to hose off the boat from top to bottom just to make it tolerable enough to back out of the slip.

I’m telling you. The osprey have chosen.

PS: For those of you that read “Oh SH*T It’s Kathy Bates!,” there are two important things I’ve forgotten to tell you:

1. KB has turned into my favorite lab person. She’s a tough cookie who doesn’t take shit from anyone, but she also is the only straight shooter in the entire lab course. And she likes me.

2. I figured out why she is sometimes insanely grouchy – she’s a World of Warcraft player, and I’m guessing when she gets killed by an orc or something she takes out her level 98 Paladin anger on the nearest lab group. I bet she spends her evenings killing the wild boars in the woods like the South Park episode.

Can you spot KB?

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