When most people think of reality stars, they think of people: celebrities, entertainers, etc.
Most of us don’t picture animals being ‘internet sensations,’ but there are a couple of birds near Annapolis, Maryland that are have been proving everyone wrong for several years now.
Their fans call them Tom & Audrey, and they’re a pair of Osprey that nest in the Chesapeake Bay year after year, garnering all kinds of attention you wouldn’t expect of a bird.
According to National Geographic, the pair gets over 10,000 views a day from adoring fans in over 50 countries! Not bad for a pair of lovebirds just going about their daily business.
Thanks to a high-resolution camera that was set up on their nest in 2013, people from all over the world can now tune in live to see what they’re up to during the months of March to August.
Joel Dunn is President & CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, a non-profit organization of “conservation entrepreneurs.” He says the osprey have become a reality television show that people have tuned into.
They have captured the passions of people in the Chesapeake Bay. – Joel Dunn
And it’s no surprise that people are interested in them. They’re quite entertaining, active birds, with real drama unfolding between the couple and real-life challenges and trials to overcome while raising their young.
So when’s the best time to tune in?
Well, it all begins in the spring, when Osprey return from their “winter vacations” in the Caribbean, Central, or South America.
Although Osprey do not always mate for life, they do typically have one partner that they return to each spring. But that’s after having some much-needed time apart—around seven months in total! They actually spend their time south away from one another, meeting back at their nesting spot in March.
Then, when they’ve both returned, the male must win the affection of the female all over again in order to mate successfully, and one of the ways they do this is by putting on an impressive air show and “sky dance.”
Osprey are master fishers (which is a good thing, considering 99% of their diet is fish!) They can dive into the water at speeds of 80 mph to catch fish, and part of their mating dance involves a successful hunt, as well as a spectacular display of their diving ability, soaring hundreds of feet in the air, and hovering.
Females will lay their eggs between mid-April and late May, and the eggs hatch five weeks after they’re laid, so if you want to see the excitement of the newborn chicks hatching, make sure you keep tuning in to get updates on what stage they’re at.
During this time, you’ll get an insider’s look into the family life of the Osprey, one of Chesapeake’s most iconic species.
By the end of August, they'll be heading south once again, so don't miss your chance to tune in now and catch them before they take off for the winter!
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