A long, hot day of playing "where's Waldo" ...searching for chicks to confirm successful fledging. Just flying away from the nest does not indicate a successful fledge. We must see them land safely somewhere and return to the nest to eat. They can get into a million different kinds of trouble post fledge, but we can monitor carefully to determine that they have fledged successfully. And honestly, it's kind of fun searching for them. I always am learning more about them, the more time I spend observing at different stages of development. I got to finally meet up with one of my new monitors today. It's always so hard to connect....and we were finally in the right place at the right time. I love watching with the volunteers so I can explain some behaviors, point out the clues that I am observing, what the vocalizations and behaviors may indicate.
Right now I am sitting here watching the nest of Mr Mom. Wow. When I arrived our single dad was perched nearby, watching over his youngsters. I don't mean to anthropomorphize , but he did look proud, confident, and quite comfortable with this situation and his role. He is now quite used to caring for these chicks. They are very big, beginning to flap furiously and are clearly preparing for fledge. Now I know I am very biased, but I am sitting here thinking these are the most beautiful chicks I have ever seen in my 24 years. I wish they were banded so we could follow their lives. It looks like it might be two males and one female. Dad took off for some dinner. The chicks were not food begging but crops were looking a little empty. They must be eating a lot now at this stage of development...and it will only get worse. But I am certain that this male is up to the task of fishing constantly. They are always well behaved, with no fighting for fish, which means the food supply is sufficient. Dad returns with a large goldfish. Oh how funny.....I laughed out loud! As I was just saying, they are well behaved, so all three lined up around Dear old Dad, expecting him to feed them. But Dad said, ya gotta grow up and feed yourselves...and he left the fish and moved to a perch nearby to watch. They all stared at the fish...no one lunged for the fish. They looked at each other. SO FUNNY! Finally one decided to grab the fish, politely, and begin eating. The others watched and food begged quietly. Believe it or not, they took turns at the fish....each one eating some and then walking away so another could take a turn. I love these guys....each and everyone of this osprey family has touched my heart. I sit here with my hand over my heart. Pop better go get a couple more fish! Sweet! The theme song from the old Mary Tyler Moore show went thru my head...."you're gonna make it afterall!"