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Yarmouth County photographer captures battle between ospreys

Attempted nest stealing ends in dunking

YARMOUTH COUNTY -  An osprey that may have been planning to save some work nest building this spring by trying to move into an existing one had a cold, wet awakening.

Yarmouth County photographer Debbie Roberts was lucky enough to be standing by when it happened.

“An osprey was sitting in a nesting area that another ‘couple’ had claimed,” she said. “When the original osprey returned, one of them was so angry at the intruder that he or she grabbed it, threw it into the water and gave it a trouncing.”

Nova Scotia Bird Society president David Currie says osprey pairs will defend their traditional nest from other large birds that could try to take over like eagles, herons, owls and other osprey.

“Although I've not seen a squabble to this extent, this type of behaviour had been noted in the literature,” he said. “Osprey have a long lifespan and generally have life-long partners which often return to the same nesting site year after year.

 “Osprey return to Nova Scotia by mid-April and look for familiar nesting sites so it could be possible that an interloper returned a bit earlier than the 'owners' of the nest, thinking it may have found a perfect spot until the rightful pair challenged that idea,” he said.

“Normally, disputes would not be quite so dramatic, with one giving in before anything serious happens. I've never heard of one killing another, though.”

Roberts captured the incident in a series of photos.

All birds eventually escaped intact but it was quite the thing to see, she says.

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