Family life at the Osprey nest

I’m doing a weekly visit to monitor a local Osprey nest at the same park featured in the last two posts.  It’s a challenge to figure out exactly what is going on there with the aid of the telephoto lens or my binoculars.

osprey at the nest-

This is what it looks like most of the time — usually it’s the female either incubating eggs or sitting over the chicks to protect them from direct solar radiation. I think the chicks have hatched because she is sitting up much higher than she was a couple of weeks ago.  Previously only her head was visible.

osprey at the nest-

When dad arrives with a fish, there is some subtle communication that goes on before the fish is consumed.  

This was actually the second fish that dad brought to the nest.  After he delivered the first one, the two birds stood and looked at each other for a couple of minutes, and then he flew off with the fish in his talons.  Neither of them fed on it or diced it up for the chicks.  Hmmm… not sure what was going on there.

This was actually the second fish that dad brought to the nest.

Standing around thinking about what to do next with that fish…

This was actually the second fish that dad brought to the nest.

OK, let’s eat it. The female fed herself, the male seemed to be tearing off small chunks and leaning way into the nest toward where I assume the newly hatched chick(s) sat.

This was actually the second fish that dad brought to the nest.

When she comes around to his side of the nest, you can see marked differences between the birds. The female (on the left) is larger and is perhaps a little darker.  Her feathers are not smooth and sleek like his.  She needs a good preen job after sitting on eggs and chicks for more than a month.

osprey at their nest

Seems she needs to stretch out her wings as well. Lots of missing feathers there, and they’re looking a little ragged.

I’ll report back again when the chicks get a little bigger and are visible.

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