Osprey Chicks To Fly Any Day

I am surprised we haven’t had an osprey chick fledge yet as of yesterday, but the last couple days have lacked the breezes and winds they love to practice in.  On Saturday we did have breezy conditions, and I watched some impressive 1-2 foot lift-offs, then dropping back down quickly.  I created a quick video of a sequence of 24 photos of one such lift-off that day.  You will see towards the end of the video, she gets a little squirrelly but brings it back together and down.  Also notice the extended talons are always ready and reaching to grab hold of the nest if/when necessary.

On Sunday evening, we were lucky to only get clipped by a large thunderstorm cell passing over Eastern Bay and Tilghman’s Island.  With the rain & windy conditions, our chicks were taking advantage of some more lift-offs.  I was trying to capture the storm crossing the bay when I saw one getting quite air-born.  Had me worried for a while that the winds would whisk one of our chicks away by accident!

The temperatures have climbed back up and the humidity is back.  (YUCK!)  This past weekend I watched Olivia leave the nest a few times, primarily to skip along the water or totally immerse herself to cool off.

When Olivia returned from one dunking, I captured some great shots of her on the nest puffing and spreading her feathers to air them out.  Her family looks on as Olivia strikes some beautiful poses!

Now at 9 1/2 weeks old, our full-grown chicks are becoming more aggressive as they learn what is necessary to be on their own.  The next few photos show one of the chicks being quite vocal at a passing bird while mom continues to feed the other.  Olivia did immediately check out what the chick’s alert was all about but found it not to be an intruder so she continued to feed while ignoring the ruckus.

In that last photo, the chick is giving the ‘that’ll show you to come around my nest’ look.   🙂  Another series of agressiveness photos follow, these were yesterday at sunrise so the photos are grainy but it was quite comical to watch and I wanted to share.  Now when Oliver drops a fish delivery, the chicks will attempt to try & pull a piece of fish off while mom is feeding the other.  This time Olivia allowed one chick to take the fish, which the other chick wasn’t too happy about.  So a tug-of-war began between the two.  Mom kept her eye on them.

Since the tug-of-war wouldn’t stop (poor fish!), Olivia took the fish back with both chicks quickly surrendering it.  She ate a couple bites herself while they watched, and she then began feeding them.  Her chicks have become normal teenagers!

Can you imagine scratching an itch with those osprey talons?  They do it all the time, I can’t believe they don’t snag themselves.

Some final shots from the last few days, the first has dad Oliver bringing more soft nesting material to the nest…

Some flapping practice and a feeding while a purple martin cruises by….

And another family portrait.  Olivia is on the right, still wet from a recent dunking.  🙂

As I finish this, I wonder if today’s breezes gave one of our osprey teenagers just enough courage to take that fledging soar to the sky.  Maybe!  Next post, I hope to be saying so!

6 thoughts on “Osprey Chicks To Fly Any Day

    • Thanks! What are you seeing with your osprey nest now? Any little heads bobbing around or up & down erratically as they try to learn to hold their heads up? It’ll be neat when you finally know how many chicks you have to watch grow! 🙂

  1. I have been watching a pair of Osprey nest on the creek below my house for 2 years. They built a nest but did not lay any eggs last year. This year the nest was much bigger and they sat the nest, so I assumed there were eggs. June 8 I saw three chicks hatch. There were still 3 bobbing heads when I left 2 weeks ago. Arriving back yesterday there is one good sized chick, with no evidence of the others. I did see one aggressive interaction between chicks before I left. did the strongest one survive by aggression? I guess i still have some time before they fledge.

    • I’m sorry to hear two chicks are missing. You might be right about aggression. When there are three chicks (four is rare but does happen), the youngest most definitely has to struggle to keep up with his older siblings, trying to get into the feeding line and avoiding all the bullying. The mom osprey will not make sure the youngest gets his share, only giving what might be left of the fish after the first two get their bellies filled. This year’s Blackwater Refuge’s osprey nest cam had three chicks and there were concerns of their third keeping up to survive. (So far he has!) It does seem odd (and sad) though to lose two chicks. Maybe one was really a bully or maybe an unfortunate violent, strong-wind thunderstorm came through while you were away. Whatever the reason(s), the surviving chick is being the kind of bird he is, an aggressive raptor. And he should be starting to flap those big awkward wings soon, with fledging in about three weeks or so. Let us know when he fledges!

  2. Hi Donna, you have captured some amazing photos of the Ospreys, can I possibly have your permission to use one on an internal environment website based in BC? Thanks, Stacey

    • Hi Stacey, and thank you for your comments! I appreciate your desire to use my photos on your internal website. Unfortunately, not knowing or understanding your ‘use’ on a website I cannot access leaves me a bit uncomfortable on my copyright. Can you be a bit more explicit on your request for who’s use and why? 🙂

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