Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There Were Three

_DSC1656_SnapseedB (c)72dpi, originally uploaded by Donnie Fulks.

I took this shot of the Osprey chicks last week. The three chicks seemed to be doing well and I had high hopes that all three would mature. Sadly, the youngest, seen on the left, did not survive the strong storm over the weekend. We had some large hail and it had been over 100 degrees all week. For whatever reason the youngest perished.

The remaining pair are almost grown and are now expected to eat fish their parents bring themselves. About a week and half ago, the mother began to fish for them as well as the father. I suspect mom thinks they are large enough to avoid predation at this stage. Although in the last week, one of the parents has driven off Bald Eagles who came too close to the nest on a couple of occasions. The last time, dad was bringing a huge golden fish to the nest when an eagle swooped in to get an easy meal. Nothing doing! The eagle was swiftly driven off. Earlier this spring, the moma bird pinned a young Bald Eagle to the ground that ventured too close to the nest. She nailed him a few times and I did think the eagle was going to escape. Eventually the eagle was able to limp away and after several tries managed to fly into a low tree.

the two remaining juveniles have begun to flap their wings in preparation of flying. It is going to take a few weeks of wing exercise before they are ready to attempt flight. Last year, the fist brief flying took place during a storm with strong winds. In essence, they begin early flight attempts in nature's wind tunnel which allows them to go straight up and down over the nest. Soon after that, they will fly a short distance to the nearest light or electric pole, rest a while and then fly back to the nest. Each subsequent day they fly a little further out and back. About a month after learning to fly, they will begin the migration to Central or South America with their parents (presumably). I guess they learn to fish on the journey south.

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