The almost two-week long heat wave that put an environmental choke-hold on the Washington, DC region finally broke on July 8, 2012. A cold-front with rain pushed aside hot, moist high air that produced 100+ temperatures for 5-straight days –and 95+ temps for 11-straight days, both historical records, according to the Capital Weather Gang.
Although nest observers were concerned, nature proved that mother knows best. At least, Mother Osprey does! Herself shaded the two fledgings with her body to protect the chicks from the direct sunlight (which was brutal, especially because the nest is located on top of a shingled gazebo).
Herself provided shade from sunrise to sunset with papa bird, Himself, giving her only brief breaks. The most surprising move was a frequent cool down, mostly in the afternoon. Herself would swoop down from the nest and splash into the water below. She would sink until just her head was above water. Then soaking wet, with a couple of thrusts with her powerful wings, she was airborne and back on the perch. Once there she would stand above the chicks dripping water drops on them. Standing with her wings slightly extended, she gave the chicks below a much-needed respite from the direct sunlight.
No doubt, at many times it was nip and tuck with the chicks gasping for breaths or laying prone and barely moving. But today, we are pleased to report that they are alive and exploring the nest again waiting for the morning meal.