I am happy to finally report that the last chick in the metro area has fledged successfully! I visited last Sunday and the juvenile was still in the nest, and on Tuesday she was gone, and could not be found anywhere, in spite of searching for two hours. I don't consider it a successful fledge until I see the youngster flying and returning to the nest, landing well. Today I visited again and the chick was on the nest eating, she flew off and I searched and found her perched in a tree! And I must say she is a beautiful female...large with dark, distinctive spots evenly scattered over her breast. I hope she will be around for several more weeks at least with one of her parents.
A more disturbing discovery yesterday was that a cell company had removed a nest shortly after the chicks fledged, while they were still dependent upon that nest for feeding. I was so surprised that they did not wait another month, when the birds would have been gone. I suspect this was an illegal removal, without the required permits. I have notified the DNR.
Many osprey families appear to be totally gone now, the nests so empty and quiet. But with so many late breeders, there are still Ospreys to be found, though it takes some searching, waiting, listening, to find them. It's a game I play this time of year, finding a few Ospreys makes for a successful day in the field! Now I finally have time to just sit and watch, without having to rush on to the next nest. I no longer try to cram 20 nests into a day. I use the time at an empty nest to work on updating the data charts as I wait for an osprey to show up, entering band numbers as I listen for the sound of food begging. When and if they do show up, I set the iPad aside and focus all my attention on the Ospreys. What can you teach me today? I treasure every moment I get to spend with them.