Flight is Close for Oyster Cove Osprey Chicks
Now at eight weeks old, our osprey chicks have become quite impressive with their beauty, growth, and strength. Their feathers continue to become fuller and longer, and they spend lots of time preening them. Their wings are almost full-grown and the flapping has become much more powerful and steady. I’ve not seen any lift-offs yet (lifting up off the nest while flapping and dropping back down quickly) but I’m expecting to see some this upcoming week. Last year, our two chicks fledged on July 7 and July 8; and they were born later than this year’s two chicks, so flight is close!
Note the chick’s large talons in the next photo….
I’ve noticed Olivia leaves the nest more and more, usually just for a flight and then back. Our two chicks will intently watch her each time. Is mom teaching?
Now that they have gotten so big, at times one of the chicks will practice some wing-flapping, accidentally slapping the others in the nest. Sometimes it’s quite funny. They just try to get out of the way to make room for the practicing chick.
Then there are times when Olivia will just leave the nest altogether to make more room. When she did in the next photo, it appeared the chick was going to follow her; but it actually gave him/her the space to open those wings wider and really flap. But one day soon, he/she will follow mom right off the nest and into the sky!
I’ve seen Oliver more often in the last couple weeks, just coming to the nest to hang out with the family. The other area ospreys are still not welcomed around Oliver and Olivia’s airspace and they will make it known with loud threatening calls, as in the next photo. I’ve heard the chicks starting to make little calls out too, mimicing mom and dad. They are definitely taking it all in and learning!
Yesterday early evening was one of those times Oliver came to perch. After a quiet time together, Olivia began a low, constant chirp. When she got louder and appeared to be directing it at Oliver, Oliver took off from the nest and headed directly towards the water below. Olivia stopped chirping immediately. Both chicks’ eyes followed dad’s flight.
All eyes in the nest stayed on Oliver…..
And amazingly, just like that, Oliver half-turned with claws out, and lined up for a strike and dive!
What a quick catch on demand! Both chicks watched him as he returned with the catch and passed it to Olivia who fed those two hungry bellies. This is the second time I’ve watch Oliver strike for a fish right at the nest this week, with both chicks watching. Is he teaching the chicks some beginning techniques and maneuvers? Maybe!
I’ve done a first attempt in a small video of sequenced photos, showing some wing-flapping action into the breeze, during a steady rain on June 17. You’ll see back then their big and awkward wings caused a lot of unbalance while attempting to flap. Now that I’ve kind of figured this out, I hope to share some good action photo sequences this way. 🙂
A final osprey photo, on occasion a boat will pass close by the nest. Olivia has her eye on this one; and I liked the colors, something different than water behind our family!
Finally, on other wildlife within our community, we have a killdeer family around the tennis courts. It was quite interesting in how the male would try to draw my attention to him with his shrill call and spreading & fluffing of his feathers, falling sometimes & acting as if he was injured, all while the female guarded the baby. I had no idea they were even there, until the male made such a ruckus at me. After a couple photos, I retreated for their comfort.
That baby killdeer sure was a cutie running around! And as our osprey chicks will be doing, this little one will be flying soon too.
For those in the community, keep a watch on our osprey nest this week, you may just catch an exciting lift-off and drop. And a chick’s expression when he’s done it!