A Look Inside an Osprey Nest

August 08, 2016  •  2 Comments

It was getting late in the nesting season when I went to watch an active osprey nest.  The experience of watching a fraction of their lives on the nest and the different emotions they display, was very interesting.  They are faced with challenges every day.  I got to witness how they handle some of those challenges and I'd like to share that experience with you.

This is mom sitting on the nest with her three chicks.  No, I didn't count incorrectly.  The third chick is low in the front of the nest.  You'll see it later.  Notice that the eyes of the chicks are orange-brown and the parent is yellow.  Actually, Osprey chicks hatch with blue eyes that change to orange-brown.  As they mature, the eyes turn yellow.

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It looked like mom was feeding one of her chicks but their beaks were empty.  Perhaps she was telling it "you'll be first when the next fish arrives".

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As the chicks grow, they will spread their wings more often and begin flapping in preparation for their first flight.  I love it that mom and sibling keep their cool even with a wing in their face.  Mom even gets a pat on the back with the flight feathers.

OspreyOsprey

 

Here comes dad into the nest.  The wind was blowing into my face that day and since birds generally take off and land into the wind, I knew I wouldn't get any landing shots coming toward me.  I was wondering why he brought another stick to the nest in this late stage of the nesting season.  His mate and all three chicks watch intently as he glides in.

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Here is a tight shot of both parents on the nest.  Dad is in the front.

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During my stay, dad made several trips to the nest but didn't stay long.

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Here is a good look at mom and all her chicks.

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Within 15 minutes, dad came back with some twigs and grasses.

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So far, that seems like a pretty easy day.  Sitting on the nest preening while waiting for dad to bring nesting material and food to the nest.  It wasn't really like that at all.  Besides dealing with the varying weather like high wind gusts, rain, and sun, mom had to deal with another Osprey circling the nest that was not part of her flock.  She became very vocal and stood her ground to protect her nest and chicks.  She flew up to a stick just to the left of the nest and using her tail and wings, she made herself look larger to intimidate the intruder.

OspreyOspreyAn Osprey from outside of their group was flying too near the nest.

 

I made several short video clips throughout the morning.  Some of the clips simply show time spent on the nest but I also included some of the action when the intruder arrived.  Mom's vocalizations at the beginning of the video are communications with her mate who was either perched in a nearby tree or flying nearby.  Listen carefully when mom is being vocal when the intruder arrives, you will hear the chicks calling from the nest too.  Also, take note that when trouble is near, the chicks are all hunched down in the nest for protection.

This video is a little over four minutes long so, depending on your internet connection speed, it may take a minute to load before it plays.  Please click the play icon and wait.

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Here is one last intimidating look at mom fending off the intruder.  I sure admire her tenacity and am happy to say she and family are well.

OspreyOspreyAn Osprey from outside of their group was flying too near the nest.


Thanks for looking,

Dan


Comments

2.Dennis Morgan(non-registered)
Great shots Dan. Love the video. I have watched a pair of Bald Eagles for two years. They are very impressive.
1.Donna Mohney(non-registered)
Nice Post. I have watched two osprey raise young every year for about 10. they nest at Donegal Lake and I have seen them chase off a Great Blue Heron- wow, the noise that day!
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