The TV show Friends popularized the idea that lobsters mate for life in an episode aired in 1996. It turns out, though, that the slogan that now adorns a variety of merchandise items was a little less than true; lobsters are not all that faithful. If you really want a story about an animal mating for life, look no further than the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus).
Photo by Paul Paleo
Ospreys typically reach breeding age around 3 or 4 years old, and, similar to many other bird species, the males attract a mate by showing off an impressive catch through what is commonly called a “sky dance.” Fish in talons, the male will tread air, then drop down a hundred or so feet before flying back up to tread air once again, wooing his mate through this yo-yo like display. Once the female has accepted, she is almost exclusively fed by the male during the remainder of the nesting period, and most pairs are then mated for life, returning to the same nest every year when possible. If the nest remains undisturbed, the nest can sometimes reach a depth of over 6 feet as the pair returns and adds to the nest each year!
Now, no love story is like the ones in books, and ospreys will re-mate if their mate dies prematurely, but, given that ospreys can live an average of 25-30 years, that’s one long commitment!
These many different love stories can be a metaphor for supporting non-profit organizations like the Bolsa Chica Conservancy. Whether you chose to Volunteer your time, Donate Today, or just spread the word of an organization, these strategies can all have equal success! Go to www.bolsachica.org and choose which strategy works best for you!