It is not something easily conveyed, this love we have for a bird that knows or cares nothing for us. In describing the ardor that surrounds the stars of nest web cameras, the uninitiated sometimes roll their eyes as if talking with a small child who clearly does not understand the ways of the world. I personally have too often met that doubting face when I extol Ozzie’s, Harriet’s, and Hal’s many virtues.
While Kelli was very polite and did not come back with a sarcastic remark or sly, knowing grin when I tried to explain that our website community would completely lose track of all sensible responsibilities and glue themselves to our nest web camera once Harriet and Hal arrived, she clearly did not feel the passion. She offered that it might be fun to see an osprey up close and what a quaint concept it was to have viewers huddled around their computers chatting and gawking at a bird’s nest. No, she clearly had not yet been infected.
Kelli’s rather rapid descent into osprey-mania began when we ordered the bucket truck to take the bird feeders down. She insisted on participating. We had all been talking and talking about the nest, so she thought she had to see it up close and personal. She assembled all the materials to wash the camera domes for better viewing and was hoisted up to both the nest and ranch cameras. From that day on, as the osprey chatter on our website increased in intensity, Kelli’s eyes began darting skyward every so often. By the first of April, she showed all the symptoms common to other osprey-maniacs: checking the web cameras every half hour, speculating as to what time of day we could expect to see Harriet, and worrying as the days started to roll by.
Then it happened. On April 2, I got the following text on my cell phone “Osprey was here!!!!” Followed by, “In the sky!!”
We had a full work day planned and it was all the talk of the volunteer work crew Kelli had assembled. Harriet used the new perch we had installed on the border of the south pasture (much to our joy), and then she disappeared. Who could blame her? She had just migrated many miles and probably needed to feed herself and get a little R&R.
By about 3:00 pm that afternoon, I got another text with one word: “Goose,” indicating that a female goose had landed. Everyone on the ground and on the website got into a big furor. The female goose laid a big white egg within minutes of landing. The chat lit up with a stream of OMGs (which means, of course, in capital yelling letters: OH, MY GOSH!!!) as everyone thought the worst: this female goose will not abandon her egg and Harriet will lose her nest.
Those of us on the ground immediately took to making noise, including setting off cherry-bomb firecrackers and lobbing tennis balls around the nest—to absolutely no avail. That goose didn’t budge. That is, not until Harriet caught sight of her on her nest and came swooping in like a dive bomber and dislodged the goose without any resistance. Whew!
Kelli left that day full of worries about how Harriet was going to get rid of the big goose egg and when Hal would come back. Her fears intensified as she checked in on the website late that night and learned that a great horned owl had attacked Harriet.
Well, needless to say, Kelli has become over-the-top crazy for Harriet. Let some of Kelli’s recent Facebook posts serve as evidence of her transformation. I am wondering about the extent of my liability… I did, after all, hire her and expose her to the source of her altered mental state.