Saturday, August 20, 2016

Osprey watch!

A little about Osprey

Osprey are fascinating birds. They are large birds of prey, similar to Hawks.  The adult birds are about two feet long, and their wing span can reach over six feet!  They begin to appear on the Mid Atlantic coast in the middle of March, to mate and raise their young.  They fly all the way from South America, and stay in our coastal region for about five months.  In August, they will fly back to South America, with there young fledglings.  What an amazing trek!  These birds mate for life, and return to the same nesting spot, many times the very same nest, year after year.  Since their diet is 99% fish that they catch, they nest very near the water.  They tend to choose utility polls near the shore, and channel markers in shallow water for their nest location.  Manmade platforms scatter the shore in our area, to encourage them to build their very large, stick and twig nests on them.  This is because they can reek havoc by choosing very inconvenient and dangerous perches for their nests.  Left to their own devices, they like the tops of boats and electricity polls.  Both the male and female birds repair, or rebuild their nest, and add to it, as their hatchlings grow.  The female lays two to four eggs in April, that hatch in May.  Now, in August, the chicks are becoming very large, nearly full grown.  They don't have too many predators, except larger birds, in this area, but raised quite a ruckus, if they fear their offspring are in danger.  Mostly, they live peacefully with smaller birds.  They only seem threatened by a boat or jet skier if it gets within a close radius of their nest.    

Man made Osprey platform with the beginning of a new nest

This Osprey has chosen the flying bridge on a boat.  It will be discouraged from building here!

This pair has chosen the end of a dock

This pair has likely arrived at last year's platform, and is rebuilding this nest

The Osprey looks magnificent in flight

Egg sitting

Very prepared couple in a large nest

Coexisting with other bird life


 They are very vocal and protective if they think their nest is in danger. 

Soaring down to the nest 

Landing spectacularly on a branch

Ever watchful, over their nest

 Majestically watching the nest from a close by perch

 With a fish in it's talons-got to feed the family

 Watchful, but not threatened by the kayaker

or the sailboat

 The Osprey in flight is not a threat to this nest,  it is just fishing in the area

Two hatchlings in this nest

One parent and one visible quickly growing chic!

Crowned house!
  These two parent birds are very fortunate to have three fledglings live to near adulthood 

Learning to fly
This is so much fun to watch!

They swoop around the nest, becoming a little more daring and going a little further from the nest, under the tutelage and watchful eyes of the parents
The young are nearly as big as the parents, and they have all the skills they need to make the long flight back to the warmth of South America.
Any day now, they will all fly off together.

Bon Voyage, and hope to see you all back next year!

1 comment:

  1. I am a true fan of observing nature - how marvelous that you are able to enjoy the osprey in your area. Just this morning as I headed out the door I was a able to hear two parrots nearby...