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.