Monday, August 22, 2011

Almost Time to Head South

The osprey young are still using the nest as home base and will continue to do so until they migrate in September. The female adult usually migrates first, while the male adult remains behind to help the young with meals. The male will migrate about the same time as the young, which is a few weeks after the mother, depending on the chicks' development.

All but the southernmost breeding populations in North America are migratory, vacating their breeding grounds in late summer for rain-forest rivers and fish-rich seacoasts and lakes of Central and South America.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Empty Nest

When I checked the webcam yesterday, I could still see all 3 young on the nest. I checked the date that the young fledged last year...July 26th, so I suspected that they would be out and about real soon. And when I first checked this morning, sure enought, the nest was empty except for one young bird.
The young will be flying around the nest area from perch to perch for a few days and then gradually venturing further from the nest. Soon they will be learning to fish....meanwhile the parents will still be providing fish prey for their offspring. So, stay tuned. The young and adults will be coming and going from the nest structure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Crowded Nest

The young ospreys are fast approaching full size. The nest is getting crowded now when the whole family is at home. The young will soon begin to take their first flights. They are about 45 days old and should begin to fly between 55 and 60 days.

I was just watching the cam and saw one of the young flapping his wings in preparation. Birds have two very large breast muscles that power flight. Instead of a flat sternum or breast bone like humans have, birds have a protruding ridge called a keel. (Like the keel of a boat.) Muscles anchor to this keel and the wing bones. Young birds do not have developed breast muscles and spend time flapping to help them get in shape. All of the young birds will begin to flap a lot.

Its also getting hard to tell adults from young in the nest. Sometimes the young still lay down: the adults almost never lay down. Also, the backs of young are more mottled in color than the adults.

The adults are still feeding the young and will continue to do so for another month or so. As soon as the young birds start flying, they will also begin learning how to fish.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Three Osprey Chicks Confirmed

Yesterday at the refuge BioBlitz festival, we were able to confirm that there are 3 chicks in the osprey nest. One appears to be less developed than the other two. So, he is the "runt" of the clutch. We will watch anxiously to see if he can compete successfully for food with his more advanced siblings. Meanwhile the male keeps bringing in fish, several a day, to keep his mate and the chicks fed. The older two siblings are lunging around the nest now trying to strengthen their legs. We can still see the parents rearranging sticks on the nest, perhaps this is a kind of anxiety relieving mechanism. The male even brought in new sticks yesterday. Stay tuned for more exciting viewing as the young ospreys continue on their fast growth curve. rcc

Friday, June 3, 2011

At Least Two Osprey Chicks

This morning and again this afternoon, I observed the male bring in a fish and the female taking the fish, ripping off small pieces and feeding the young. Both times I was able to see two tiney downy heads bobbing for the tasty tidbits that the mother osprey was offering. rcc

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ospreys Have Young

I have been watching the webcam ientently the last couple of days for signs of hatching. Yesterday, 5/30, was the first time that the female showed a lot of aggitation/nervousness, switching postions, and looking into the bowl of the nest, so I suspected things were happening. Today, I saw her pick off small pieces of fish flesh & dip her head into the nest to feed at least one young bird.
Keep watching. In a week or so we should be able to see downy heads poking above the nest as the female feeds her young.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Question from viewer: Is there anyway to get the CAM to zoom in on the osprey without disturbing them? It would especially be nice when the chicks hatch.

Answer: Thanks for watching the ospreycam at Deer Flat NWR. The nesting platform is on a pole which is standing in the water of Lake Lowell. The camera is on a pole sitting on the shoreline about 50 yards from the nest. The camera can zoom in at 25X maximum and we have it at about that right now. We will do the best we can with zoom and focus when the young are visible. Stay tuned, the young should start hatching out in about 7 to 10 days. rcc

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Intruder at Osprey Nest

Yesterday, some of you may have seen our nesting pair of ospreys ward of another osprey from the nest. This was reported to me by Jim, one of our faithful watchers. There was a lot of interaction and flashing of talons. We don't know if this intruder was from the other nesting pair located about 2 miles to the east or possibly a young from last years nest. Young birds sometimes return to the nest where they were born.
Apparently, this type of interaction is not all that uncommon. The same type of intrusion happend last year and we have that on archived video. To see last years footage of another osprey trying to land at the nest click here:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Busy Nesting Season at Deer Flat NWR

While we are watching and waiting for the osprey to complete their incubation cycle, I wanted to point out that we have other active nesters at the refuge. Another osprey pair is also sitting on eggs on their platform nest near the refuge maintenance shops. I also observed a great-horned owl nesting in a cavity of an old cottonwood tree in that area.
We have two bald eagle nesting territories on Lake Lowell. One is just west of the visitor center and that nest has at least one young eaglet in it, about one month old. The other bald eagle nest is on the east end of the lake and only accessible by boat. We have not yet determined the number of young in that nest.
There are many breeding pairs of red-tailed hawks nesting on the refuge, they also have young in the nest. One of the more visible nests is at Murphy's Neck off Orchard Ave...I saw a downy head peeking above the edge of that nest just this morning.
The great blue heron rookery on the south side of Lake Lowell is full of nesting birds, as is the double-crested cormorant rookery in the same general location. Meanwhile, hundred of western grebes (some Clark's grebes mixed in) have returned to the lake and are preparing for their nesting season. We saw several in courtship display during a recent boat trip around the lake.
And lastly, the refuge staff is just finishing their surveys of nesting Canada geese on the islands in the Snake River. The nest numbers are down from previous years and the high river flows this year have inundated some of the nesting islands. Most all of the goslings should have hatched by now from the viable nests. rcc

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Incubating Eggs

On 4/22/10 we observed the female laying low in the nest. This is a good indication that she has an egg. She has been deepening the bowl of the nest for the last 3 days in preparation for laying her clutch.

Incubation usually begins after the first egg is laid. Both sexes incubate, but female generally does most of the incubation. Female nearly always incubates at night. Male usually provides female with all food during this period; female takes fish to nearby perch and feeds there; male generally incubates while female feeds, but will initiate incubation independent of food transfers.

It takes about 36 days for osprey eggs to hatch. Notice the unusual color of osprey eggs in the above photo.

This information and the photo is from the Birds of North America Series. To learn more, click the osprey info button while you are watching the cam.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gravid Female

The female osprey is roosting and generally staying near the nest. She is heavy with eggs. The Male continues to roam and roost on other nearby sites.

....Oops. I just said that and she flew off the nest platform....possibly to do some morning fishing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Upgrade of Osprey-cam

Laying Electrical Line and Excavating Trench

The ospreys are back at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. The male arrived the last week of March and the female a few days later. They have been busily adding sticks to the nest and readying it for a new nesting season.

Meanwhile, The Friends of Deer Flat have been working with local partners to upgrade the webcam for the 2011 season. In mid-march, Randy and Steve, refuge maintenance personnel, exacated a long trench from the visitor center to the webcam pole. The following week, workers from Budget Electric came out and layed a heavy duty electrical line. Then last week, Ken and Phil from Fiberpipe removed the solar panels from the camera pole and hooked up the camera and transmitter to the permanent electical line. And just yesterday, Fiberpipe was able to finish hooking up the camera video to the Fiberpipe streaming internet site.

Any day now the female osprey will start laying her eggs in the nest. Last years egg laying started on April 22nd. So stay tuned.

Removing Solar Panels while ospreys look on.