I got a late start to checking nests on Sunday after being at the Paul McCartney concert Saturday night and not being able to get to sleep afterwards! But I made some rounds, with Beatles music blaring in between nests. I have found some chicks successfully fledged...yeah! Also found some chicks missing, but perhaps fledged and just out and about doing what young ospreys do. And some chicks are frantically preparing to fledge by flapping furiously, helicoptering (getting loft and hovering a few feet above the nest) and self feeding. A bunch of them will go this week.
I also watched some interesting adult behaviors...of course many females are staying away from the nest, probably to escape the chaos, and to begin to regain their lost muscle mass from all that sitting and standing they have done for the past few months. I can usually find them somewhere in sight of the nest. Males can be scarce...providing fish for a full brood of chicks close to fledging age is a full time job. I watched one nest that had quite a lot of commotion with extra adults flying around...eventually I spotted a tree where four adults were perched! That is unusual! I tried to identify them, and at least one banded male was from a nearby failed nest (approx 2 miles away), and I presume the unbanded female near him was his mate. The other pair were both unbanded...also probably from a failed nest that is closer. They were all chirping loudly and seemed to be focusing their attention on another unidentified adult flying around. So there was some big time socializing going on that I found interesting to observe. No aggression between those four adults. Could the other bird have been the parent of the two chicks on the nest nearby who were very busy flapping, jumping and hovering? Was he/she nervous about these other adults hanging out so close to her nest of chicks? To add some intrigue, there are two banded adult males missing from nests in this area...seen in the pre laying phase and then gone by the time incubation was observed. It's frustrating to not be able to get to all nests often enough to know what happened. I suspect some interesting stuff was missed. I am so curious about outcomes, behaviors, that I have to keep checking nests...the more I know, the more questions I have and the more driven I am to figure out what's going on with this population of ospreys. I am a stickler for accuracy so gotta keep collecting data. Known outcomes are what's important in this kind of a study.