More on the Osprey

Well, I’m finally back to the osprey. I have been off again, looking for and finding grizzlies. But that is for another post.
When I decided this year to track the development of the baby osprey I immediately had a list of ‘wanted’ shots. These shots, for any wildlife, are shots I dream of making. Shots like an eagle in flight, a heron dancing or an osprey feeding its young with a fish it just brought in to the nest. I didn’t realize that I would also learn a lot about the behaviour of the birds and the family dynamics if you will.
In previous years I had watched the ospreys from a more distant site and had never caught one with a fish. Or feeding – obviously, no fish no feeding. But this year I was closer with a firm place for my camera (a Nikon D3x and a 200-400mm and a 600mm lenses). No wonder they look close!

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What I learned as time went on is that most often the ‘father’ brought the fish in and the female fed the offspring. The mother would stay on the nest, or close by, calling the male, I think, until he came back. He would land with the fish and she would grab it from his claws amid a great amount of calls. I could never decide if she was congratulating him on his prowess or nagging him for taking so long. So when a fish came in it was a very active and noisy time on the roost. The osprey nest is big, but at those times it didn’t look big enough!

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Feathers fly and the young jostle for position in the eating line. This was a bit of a concern to me. I was there every second day watching for at least 2 hours. So I got two or three feeding sessions normally. As I couldn’t tell the difference between the two osprey-lets, never could, I wasn’t certain if they were getting equal amounts of food. I had a vision of one wasting away while the more dominant one flourished. However, a friend and birder lot told me that the parents can tell which bird is hungrier, ie. hasn’t had food most recently by the colour of their throats. Their mouths were always open wide enough for the parents to see. So we’re their parent’s mouths as you can see in this photo.

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Gradually a pattern developed for feeding and also for the time the young were waiting for food. It was really hot for a couple of weeks and they were in the direct sun. But they have a way to mitigate the heat which I will show you in another post.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back soon.

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Categories: Photography

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