Oyster Cove Osprey Family Portrait

What a humid, hot week our osprey family experienced so early in the season.  As the week progressed, temps reached in the upper 90’s, and the afternoons were just too hot for our little ones to do much more than try to get under mom Olivia’s spread wings to get out of the sun.  They enjoyed the early mornings and early evenings more, and were up and active then.   Of course, they aren’t so little any more as photos continue to show their rapid growth from week to week.

The first photo was taken early morning earlier this week, the chicks were sitting up alongside their mom, enjoying a slight breeze blowing at them.  I wonder what they were so intently watching?

Shortly after, Olivia did a little housekeeping.  One of the chicks was up on the side of the nest, giving us a good look at his/her body size in comparison to mom.  They make me nervous when they are so close to the edge!

More wing-flapping is occurring as the chicks try to figure out what those awkward things are all about.  While Olivia was feeding one, the other did some flapping practice….

All that growth means we have hungry babies.  Oliver keeps up with lots of fish deliveries…

The next two photos shows Olivia returning with a fish that she had been feeding to the chicks.  She had felt threatened by a passer-by with a dog and wasn’t taking any chances, she just circled around until they left.   In the first photo, I wanted to point out Olivia’s wing (left in the photo) shows a feather growing in which I had previously mentioned was missing a couple weeks ago.  Wondering if she had been in a fight or entanglement, or worse sick, I had discussed the previous photos with Lisa at Blackwater Refuge and she thought it could be that Olivia was molting, which the females will do before their chicks fledge.  Now seeing the feather growing in confirms the good news!

The heat yesterday was the worst of the week.  I got a chance to watch the chicks late evening and even that late in the day they looked a bit distressed as they panted to stay cool.

Trying to capture a ‘family portrait’ is not easy with ospreys once the nest becomes crowded with growing babies.   But this evening I finally got some where everyone was there and in great position.   🙂

I think the chicks spotted me in that last one!  🙂

The weather is predicted to improve in the next few days with more average temperatures for the season, which should be more comfortable for the chicks.  Let’s hope so.  They just have a few more weeks to endure before they fly and can learn to submerge themselves as needed to cool off throughout the hotter July/August days of summer.

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