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Seahawk love triangle captivates webcam viewers

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Rachel and Trudy are competing to settle down with Steve, who has hooked up with both females but has a history with Rachel, as observers watch the drama unfold live online.

It may sound like your typical reality show, but there's a twist: the lovebirds in this triangle are ospreys -- fish-eating hawks with wingspans up to 1.6 metres in length.

Scores of ospreys, also known as seahawks, recently returned to southern parts of Canada and northern parts of the U.S. for the springtime mating season. Among them were Rachel and Steve, who flew back to their preferred perch on Hog Island in Maine.

 Steve returns. ( The plot should have been predictable.

Like last year, when fans watched the nest and tracked the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #ospreycam, observers expected Rachel to prepare the nest, where she would eventually take care of the couple's eggs during the incubation period.

Meanwhile Steve, who was named after ornithologist Dr. Steve Kress, would fly out to bring fresh fish home for the family.

But then along came "Trudy" - a name inspired by her intruder status - who swooped in this season to complicate the situation.

Roughly 524,000 viewers have tuned in to watch the ospreys in action. At time of posting there are 122 live viewers. (

Trudy successfully chased Rachel away for several days but, to the relief of many of her fans, Rachel has recently returned and has been seen mating with Steve.

Anxious observers are hoping that the pair can continue on with their mating season undisturbed -- but, as they say on television, this is live and anything can happen.

Watching like a hawk

The birds received their human names from wildlife lovers at, which offers several different wildlife live cam feeds, and Audubon, a conservation society.

 Steve and Trudy. ( Their atypical love story has fascinated observers because osprey pairs normally stay together from one mating season to the next. When a monogamous arrangement is challenged it is typically a younger male that chases off the original male.

"Occasionally, a male will have two mates, each female in a separate nest, and he will help each to raise a family, but this arrangement rarely leads to successful nesting," Dr. Kress told the Mother Nature Network.

"It is too early to know how the events of this week will play out, but one thing for certain is that the live cameras are giving us an opportunity to witness details of osprey family life rarely seen before."

Indeed, plenty are watching the webcam feed with hawk-like focus.

And if the nest is empty at first visit, one only need revisit tweets from last summer to reminisce about more peaceful times at Steve and Rachel's nest.

Have you ever watched an animal live cam and become invested in a family or story?

Do these windows into nature make you feel more connected to the wild? Why or why not?

Tags: environment, Science

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