Bella & Beau 2019: Both ‘Teens’ Are On The Wing & Having a Blast
Osprey nest location: Cambridge, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Region, USA
August 4, 2019
This week Bella and Beau’s two ‘teens’ are approximately 9 weeks old and fully grown in size. They still attain their white-tipped feathers, not acquiring their full adult plumage until 18 months old.
There is a noticeable size difference between the two ‘teens’ that tells us the eldest chick, considerably larger, is a female; and the younger, a male. Another gender characteristic is the Osprey’s chest. Female Osprey usually sport a speckled chest or “necklace”, whereas the male’s chest is more predominantly white.
Left – Youngest/Male Right – Eldest/Female
There was a sudden change in the eldest teen’s appearance a week ago I thought I’d share. In the next photo, she returned to the nest with a noticeably much darker head. Even the lower legs and talons looked dark.
Eldest ‘teen’ returning to the nest with a very dirty head, lower legs & talons
With her water dives, baths, and skimming since that photo, she appears to be not quite so dark/dirty, so I’m guessing she got herself into mud or muck, maybe plunging into too-shallow water or from resting on a muddy embankment. Otherwise, she appears to be fine. You’ll notice changes in her throughout photos.
So we left off with my last post confirming the eldest Osprey ‘teen’ fledged on July 24th; and, let me say, she looks to be having a marvelous time perfecting her flying, landings, and water-tests. It must feel exhilarating to a newly fledged Osprey!
Eldest ‘teen’ coming in for a landing, with something to say
Eldest ‘teen’ in flight
The youngest ‘teen’ stayed very attentive to his sibling’s practicing and maneuvering.
At five-day’s fledged, eldest ‘teen’ is skimming the water already, while the youngest watches
Eldest ‘teen’ landing after skimming the water
It was apparent the youngest wanted to fly, he flapped vigorously and ‘helicoptered’ over the nest day after day.
Youngest ‘teen’ practicing lift-offs
Youngest ‘teen’ and his apprehension
Mom Bella continued to visit the nest, to encourage her youngest.
Bella and her youngest ‘teen’
It is lonely on the nest for the youngest ‘teen’
On July 30th, I was out of town before sunrise, returning late in the day. My husband said the youngest had fledged. I went outside and watched the youngest ‘teen’ flying to the nest where his sibling was resting. I captured the landing.
Youngest ‘teen’ focusing on landing – “Watch out, sis!”
“I’ve got this!”
“I’ve been flying & landing all day, Donna, where have you been?”
Bella & Beau must feel proud!
The next morning…..
We haven’t seen an empty nest since early March!
The nest will continue to be home port where the ‘teens’ will come to cry and beg, and be fed for a few more weeks by the parents.
Beau delivering a fish and then quickly departing, the eldest ‘teen’ grabs it and won’t share
Another time, Beau heading to the nest with a fish – and encounters a Barn Swallow!
Youngest ‘teen’ watching Dad Beau coming in with that fish
From a nearby perch, the eldest teen also sees Dad Beau and takes flight
The eldest chick goes to the nest ahead of Dad Beau
Beau delivers the fish and quickly departs, again big ‘sis’ taking the fish for herself
“Now where was that fair? I was waiting here first!”
Mom Bella to the rescue with another fish eight minutes later – “Yay, Mom”
Although Beau has his ‘drop and go’ policy with fish delivers, Mom Bella still has the sweet instinct of wanting to stay to feed her youngest ‘teen’. I watched her do it again this morning. Other times, she’ll pass a huge piece and allow him to feed himself while she eats alongside him.
Bella still occasionally feeds her youngest ‘teen’ — how sweet!
When aggressive big ‘sis’ is around, the youngest always waits for leftovers
Bella & Beau will take the ‘teens’ out to the river to master the hunt of fishing so they can begin to catch and feed themselves. To further encourage the ‘teens’ to fish, Bella & Beau will slow down fish deliveries to force them. Something they’ve got to learn within the next 4-6 weeks before migration occurs!
Now onto a photofest of galleries from the past 1 1/2 weeks for your enjoyment.
Youngest ‘teen’ (male) in flight
Eldest ‘teen’ (female) practicing a water dive & lift-out
Youngest ‘teen’ coming in for a landing with big ‘sis’ in the way
I am seeing less and less of the eldest ‘teen’. I imagine she is exploring more and hopefully attempting to fish. She returns to the nest for a feeding and is wet many times.
The youngest is still a bit of a ‘homebody’ so keeps providing wonderful photo ops for now, including landing on a sailmast near my balcony.
Youngest ‘teen’ lands on a sailmast – great job!
Youngest male ‘teen’ close-up
Youngest ‘teen’ practicing flight low over the water with an ‘oops’
Bella in flight
Donna’s ” perch”
Bella skimming the water to clean herself, returning to the nest to dry
Bella home alone at times….and probably enjoying the quiet solitude! 😊
As the Osprey ‘teens’ learn to master flight control, fish, and explore a vast new world they’ve now learned exists, Bella & Beau will continue to watch over, teach, feed, and protect them.
Bella and her nine-week old ‘babies’