Mother Nature has shown us just how brutal life can be in the wild. Over the last few weeks we have shared the story of an Osprey couple in Rome as they returned from winter migration, built their nest, and prepared for a family. It all took a nasty turn in the last few days.

Wildlife photographer, William Straite's amazing photos gave us a peek at the Osprey's annual mating ritual and fertilizing their eggs. Babies weren't due for a couple of more weeks and he has a broken ankle, so William wasn't planning on another nest visit just yet. Fortunately, he always has a camera in his car.

On a routine run to the store, William drove by the nesting site and saw a lot of activity happening. He grabbed the spare camera and went to investigate. The Osprey pair were both in full defense mode as a third male Osprey circled overhead. With no time to adjust camera settings, William began what he terms, "point, spray, and pray."

...The third Osprey starts diving for the nest talons First.  Our male in the nest jumped into action to defend his family and nest.  What transpired was a mid-air dog fight and due to not having time to react some of the photos are only partial but give a great insight into the battle royal that was playing out.

 

The fight moved out of sight and eventually only one male returned to the nest, but it wasn't the original bird. The rogue Osprey was back and continued to circle and harass the female Osprey for several hours. It would circle overhead, land on the back of the female, and refused to allow her to leave the nest. As the sun began to set the male Osprey left and the female was left alone in the nest calling for her mate. He never returned.

Osprey Pair's Nest Under Attack in Rome

A male and female Osprey, mating and nesting eggs for weeks is attacked and taken over by another male bird.

Osprey Pair in Rome Continue Their Mating Ritual for Two More Weeks

Pair of Osprey mates in Rome continue their mating ritual two weeks after they first started.

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