The young osprey has now left the nest. She’s independent and fully capable to take care of herself. And with that, the 2014 nesting season is officially over for the osprey family I’ve been following since January.
I saw this magnificent young bird eating and resting in the nest for a few hours on Monday and then again (from my terrace) on Tuesday. She left that evening to explore her wider surroundings and has not returned.
I thought this might be a good time to look back on the nesting season’s most interesting events, and particularly on the day when the nestling became a fledgling.
Building the nest , or rather renovating last years home, started in mid January. Papa osprey went back and forth to the Home Depot store and brought home building materials. Mama osprey was the designer and put it all together.
The couple had a few interesting and fairly loud arguments during this DIY renovation project. Wouldn’t any couple? This happened particularly at times when papa osprey came home empty-handed.
Then mama osprey was sitting on the egg and papa osprey was feeding her.
And protecting the nest from intruders. A dramatic show of force was displayed by both mama and papa osprey when two dogs took their people for a walk on the wrong side of the nest on March 15. I assume the egg had hatched (or was about to) at that time.
Mama osprey flies to check on the dogs
Papa osprey arrives to help
Papa osprey checks the nest
Papa osprey guards the nest
Papa osprey flies down towards the dogs
Soon the nestling was big enough to peek out from the nest. That’s when I spotted her first.
Papa osprey went on frequent fishing trips and brought home the “beef” that mama osprey fed to the nestling.
Mama osprey kept feeding the nestling and took care of her until she started “wingersizing” and then finally fledged. I have put together a sequential gallery of photos I took over a two-hour period on May 13. You can see how determined the young one was to fly. Mama osprey had to be careful not to be hit in the head by a flying twig or by the youngster. I had to laugh when I looked at these photos again 🙂
Anyway, that’s the day the youngster learned to fly. Soon after that papa osprey took over her training. They went on fishing trips together and he then kept an eye on her until last week when I witnessed her coming back to the nest with a fish.
I hope all of them will have a great summer and fall wherever they are going. I’m already looking forward to the return of mama and papa osprey in December-January. The juvenile will probably return to breed in her birth environment only in her third year.
I hope you enjoyed this successful nesting season as much as I did.
Bumble asked me for a small favor. And I owe him one. For helping me to write my first novel. He was the best assistant any writer could ask for. Always there for me. Sitting in my lap and cheering me on for every hundred words. Or laying at my feet, snoring. So I wouldn’t fall asleep at the laptop when I was up writing after midnight. Completely unselfish. Inspiring. Loving.
And the favor he asked for was not unreasonable. He has posted an article on his blog and asked me to provide a link here for those of his friends who have not yet found his site. I guess he misses some of his readers. And I have a hunch he wants some sympathy as well. So here it is: A Decorated Rescue Dog. Stitches Galore.
I grabbed the binoculars and checked the osprey nest while my coffee was brewing this morning. It’s become a part of my morning ritual this nesting season.
Nobody was at home. I assumed that the youngster, who’s been living there solo since early last week, had gone to fetch some breakfast. Maybe she was fishing on the bay-side, just behind the Dunkin’ Donuts shop.
Around midday, I decided some exercise would be in place. A quick walk on the beach and in the nature reserve would do. I was hoping to say hello to the young osprey and maybe spot some other birds too.
I was happy to find the juvenile at the nest. She was not alarmed when I approached and sat down on a bench under some trees nearby. She’s seen me since she was old enough to peek out of the nest. I thought she nodded a greeting.
It was hot and I was thirsty. I put my camera away and opened a water bottle. Relaxed for a bit. Right then the youngster gave out a loud and very upset alarm call. Cheereek! From where I sat, I didn’t see anything unusual. Next that I knew, I saw papa osprey zooming in from the bay-side and sweeping over the nest! Checking that everything was okay. I was scrambling with my camera … and only caught the tail-end of him at a distance.
In the meantime, the youngster was already in flight following her papa. Talk about paying a price for putting my gear down. I missed all the action.
Soon enough I got an explanation to why the youngster was so upset in the first place. Three men came walking from the grassy area behind the nest pole! Walking there is a no-no in the osprey book. Some of you may remember the big alarm by mama osprey when the dogs and their people walked that way back in March. This time I sat in a different place and didn’t see it coming.
So there I was, mulling over my bad luck with the camera. While waiting (and hoping) that the juvenile would return to the nest, I discovered some movement in the water. I went to check it out and look what I saw: a blue crab swimming happily in the murky water!
I went back to my bench and was about to pack up and leave when I saw the youngster return. She was holding a fat fish in the talons of her right foot! Correctly positioned head first to diminish air resistance!
I guess papa osprey took her right where the fish was congregating. The whole trip took less than 10 minutes. Good for her! She started eating immediately.
I left her to enjoy her food. It was fun to see how papa osprey is still keeping an eye on the youngster and that they go fishing together.
On my way back I saw a tri-colored heron and several ibis birds. Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the lesson on how to transport a fish in the air. It could prove useful one day.
Have a wonderful Midsummer – celebrated this weekend in the Nordic countries. Love always, Tiny