Bella & Beau 2018: It’s All About The Wings

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

July 15, 2018

In a previous post here I shared Bella taking a much-needed bath and about the importance in keeping their feathers clean and maintained, especially those large, gorgeous wings.

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Bella’s gorgeous wings.
(she’s delivering a stick to the platform that has no nest.)


Those wings are the Osprey’s life.  They need to be exercised and maintained to be in great condition for excellent flying so they can hunt for fish, plunge and then lift themselves from the drag caused by water capillarity, as well as have speed and control to challenge any enemies in the air.

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Bella in flight – you can see her feathers have damage.  She has been molting throughout the season.  Osprey molt by losing only a couple feathers at a time so they do not lose the capability to fly.


The OspreyTeens are now:  oldest is eight weeks, followed by the second at 7 to 7 ½ weeks.  They have quickly learned that keeping their feathers conditioned is a daily chore.  They are in constant preening mode, cleaning their new feathers and ridding the last of their wooly down.

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OspreyTeens preening their brand new feathers.


The OspreyTeens also need to exercise their wings.  One way is by stretching.  Most times this looks quite funny.

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“Mom, I’m bored, I have nothing to do…”


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Bella and an OspreyTeen watch the other’s wing stretch out and then back in.


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This was cute, a sibling “wing hug”.


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Here’s another sibling “wing hug” in a six-photo slideshow.
The last photo is priceless!


The OspreyTeens also exercise their wings with strong flapping, sometimes with a couple hops as they feel the lift.

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(photo chicks flapping)

It is getting very close now for the OspreyTeens to take their first flights.  It usually happens while flapping, the fledgling will catch the wind and off it goes!

Usually the first flight is brief and awkward and ends soon with the fledgling landing on a nearby perch.  After probably a much needed rest, it will try to return back to the nest where it will continue to live for several more weeks as it learns to control flight and then learn to hunt for food.  It’s surely a nervous time, for both them and us!

And now here is a series of some beautiful flight images I’ve captured over the last couple months of the caring parents, Bella & Beau, showing off their gorgeous patterned wings.

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Bella flew up close to me.


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Beau is usually no longer at the nest except to deliver food.  So catching a family portrait is not easy.  Here’s a couple from this past week.

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The Osprey Family


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Family Portrait
Beau is alarming an intruder while the rest pays attention to the danger.


And a few more of beautiful Bella.

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“Mombrella” Bella


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Bella on guard while the OspreyTeens rest.
(taken from ground level)


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Bella on guard while the OspreyTeens rest.
(taken from ground level)


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Portrait of Beautiful Bella


Wrapping up this week’s post, I’ll share another sunset that Bella, Beau, the OspreyTeens and we enjoyed.

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Sunset over Cambridge Creek and the Osprey Family (far right over docks)


(For all the posts on Bella & Beau’s 2018 season, you can click HERE.)



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