Friday, June 29, 2018
It’s a stinking hot day out there today and I was out there until I could no longer bear it. Those Ospreys get no respite tho, until evening. I watched those females valiantly trying to shade their chicks. Thank goodness it is quite windy today which helps a bit. The temp at my house now is 99 with a dew point of 70. Uff da. The adults and the older chicks can handle this heat if it is not prolonged. The newly hatched chicks tho, and we do have some, cannot thermoregulate at this point and this is an extreme stress for them. I am hoping they all survive, but we wont know because they are still too small to count. It’s important that they stay hydrated and the only fluid they recieve is from the fish they eat. We have some wonderful devoted males who are great at providing, and fish are abundant in Minnesota, so we can remain hopeful. I am now busy counting chicks on nests, and tho we wondered if the late spring would produce smaller broods, I am seeing many three chick nests, but also some failures. Time will tell what the overall counts are.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
It’s that fun time of the breeding season when we are beginning to be able to see the little chicks and start counting them. Some of the early nests have chicks that are now over two to three weeks old and are fairly easy to see. they are starting to look like real Ospreys now! Some of the later nests are just recently hatched and we still can’t quite see the wee ones in the nest cup, but we can see from the adults behavior that they are, indeed, there! I am happy to report that I have seen signs of hatching at the nest of our formerly single dad. What do I call him now? He is a dad again! Yeah! We are also watching some problem nests that were built in difficult spots. I have two ”nests” on top of a metal center pole of a cell tower....although there is not much of a nest per se, since there was nothing to anchor the sticks to, so most of them fell down below and the Ospreys laid eggs precariously on top of the metal, with little protection. I was actually hoping the eggs would not hatch, because I knew it would be difficult for chicks to survive a storm in that situation. One of these nests did have eggs that hatched and two small chicks were seen, but on the next visit they were gone. The parents continue to try to rebuild a nest, but it just won’t work. Perhap its best that gene pool not be reproduced! Neither of these males are young birds either.....one is ten years old, the other is 11. Both have nested successfully in the past, tho one of them always seems to choose odd, precarious locations. A daredevil, he is. But this is not a successful breeding strategy and will not effectively spread his DNA.
Friday, June 15, 2018
We now have a full house, with three chicks hatched on the Arboretum cam nest! First chick hatched on 6/11, second on 6/13, and the third on 6/14.
The male on the Arboretum nest is always feeding that female! I am so touched by his attentiveness and devotion to his large family. Remember back to his first year when he was clumsy, stepping on eggs (yes he cracked one), as he struggled to figure out how to be a good male. He has become a model male osprey, delivering food often, feeding his mate, perching nearby.
All chicks are being well fed. The little guy is still weaker as far as holding his head up, but he definitely is getting enough fish. The oldest chick clearly has a stronger neck and “gets” the feeding routine better as far as grabbing the food and swallowing it. Then dear Dad showed up and, yes, he tried to feed Mom again! His instinct to feed his family is so strong. They are all growing quickly, gaining strength and we are so thrilled to watch this threesome.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
And then there were two at the Arboretum cam nest! You can see a big piece of egg shell on the front edge of the nest and I have seen two bobble heads falling over underneath mom! Now we wait to see if egg number three will hatch too! Link to the web cam: http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/ospreycam.aspx
Monday, June 11, 2018
We have the first hatch at the Arb Nest! I knew it was coming yesterday based upon the females behavior....looking down a lot, restless. Hard to get a photo this morning but I have seen the little guys wobbly head! This first egg has hatched in day 39 of incubation which is the normal period here in Minnesota. Right on schedule! Break out the champagne and keep watching for more eggs to hatch within a day or two. Watch for the feeding of the wee one....
Friday, June 8, 2018
I want to express my sincere and deep gratitude to John Howe and John Dingley at The Raptor Resource Project for the very generous donation I received today. I cannot continue this research project without the support of so many people. Thanks, also, to all those that have donated to the Go Fund Me page this year. It touches me deeply to know that what I am trying to do is valued. Thanks, thanks, a million thanks!
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Well our first osprey chicks have begun to hatch in the past two days! Every year it is as if I am experiencing it for the first time....although, after all these years, I am much more skilled at recognizing the subtle early signs of hatching. Often the females have a sligtha different body position, but you have to have been watching them closely during incubation to notice the changes. They may be sitting a little higher, a little more hunched over. I often notice that when they do stand up, instead of the egg rolling action, they often just stare into the nestcup. When they resettle, they do it much more gently than the “plop” that I often see when they are sitting on eggs rather than newly hatched chicks. Their attention becomes much more focused downward than outward. Of course the tell tale sign of hatching is when the male brings a fish. If the female takes it and leaves to eat, there are no chicks. If she has chicks, she will begin taking small bites and leaning into the nest cup to feed them. They are unable to stand up at first so when viewing from the ground, you will not be able to see them for quite some time. It may be ten days or more before their little heads pop up and they begin to move around the nest. Part of this depends upon the depth of the nest and the angle of viewing. The feedings go quickly as those little crops can’t hold much, but what a joyful experience it is to see evidence of the new little osprey lives beginning. I watched two nests that had hatched today, and it was as moving as the first time I witnessed this. Many more nests will follow this week, and we may see hatching as late as the third week of June this year. Some nests have failed already, so we will see how this unusual year ends up. At any rate, we have some happy birthdays to celebrate!