I believe our osprey season in the Twin Cities area has come to an end. Our last chick seems to have departed yesterday and the area was so quiet today. So now I officially have empty nest syndrome…..sigh. I enjoyed my final visits with her.
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Monday, October 3, 2022
October 3, leaves are falling and the late fledging chick is still here! I watched her for over 90 minutes today, hoping dad would show up but he didnt. I am sure he is still around tho…..we are in for a big change in weather on wednesdayWednesday, with winds shifting to be from the N so that may escort our lingering friends on their way south. Sure was fun to hang out with her today!
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
I ran out today to check the nest that had the latest hatch/ fledge……I was so happy to find at least one chick still here….and got to see Dad deliver a fish to this young one. Another nearby nest had a chick two days ago, but the nest was sadly empty today. We are having strong winds from the north today so this may have been the deciding factor for some of our remaining ospreys. Still, I savored watching that beautiful juvenile osprey sitting in a tree with yellow leaves fluttering in the wind. Suddenly the youngster broke into a desperate whine and flew to the nest and was able to see the Dad as he dropped the fish and then went to the tree where the chick had been perched. Gosh, at this time of year they seem so precious!
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
I stopped yesterday at a nest that had two of the latest fledges in the metro….a nestmonitor reported no adults, just chicks. As I stated in the previous post, those Dads dont abandon their young, so I went looking for him. I found one chick perched with a fish….eating quietly…..no other ospreys seen. I had an appointment to keep and then circled back to this nest. Chick was still in the same place with half a fish in its talons as it also food begged for more ( that hyperphagia thing!). When a chick is food begging, in fact whining desperately for food, you know that Dad is around! Sure enough I finally spotted him in a tree, watching over this apoplectic chick who needed ten fish ASAP! Ha ha. Those Dads are so amazing, tho he may not be seen all the time near the nest, as this particularly attentive male was earlier in the season….he is still there caring for this remaining chick.
Monday, September 19, 2022
I visited about 18 nests over the weekend and found young ospreys still on 7 nests. So as the leaves are beginning to change, our time with the Ospreys is coming to an end. We still have several nests that fledged very late and we will continue to monitor those nests as long as we see any ospreys. We are getting reports of “abandoned” chicks that are still food begging on their nests. Many of them are experiencing ”hyperphagia” or an extreme drive to eat, as these extra calories will provide them with the energy to migrate! We must keep in mind that the adult males have invested five months in their breeding efforts and they dont abandon their young at this time of year! These males are amazing in their committed efforts to care for their offspring….tho they do become a bit scarce at this time. They give their chicks some space, while still delivering a fish occasionally to keep them going. They do want their chicks to undertake their first big journey with a full belly, a good layer of fat to sustain them! The adult females are on their way by now, and the chicks will be the next to go. We often see a single adult male circling high above a nest with a fish as if to see if there are any hungry juveniles still around. We must remember that ospreys are motivated by two very strong instincts, the first is to survive and the second is to breed successfully.
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
More sad news….I just recieved word from a vet at The Raptor Center that the osprey chick that was rescued Monday evening had to be euthanized. This one suffered the same catastrophic injuries that the other two chicks who were discovered hanging from a cell tower or ballfield light…severely dislocated hip from the long struggle to free itself. At least it didnt have to die slowly while hanging there. We are hoping that in the future we may be able to rescue these birds sooner….tho we have too many nests to check them all daily. We hope the monitors we do have might check nests on cell towers more frequently at fledging time. Its such a critical time for these young birds and it tends to be a time when some monitors start to think of osprey season as winding down…when its actually the time that these young birds are most likely to get into trouble and need our help. Fledging time is a fragile time. The mortality rate is high in the first year for ospreys, with some estimating that less than 40% will survive. Ospreys are a species that can live a fairly long time, 20-25 years. They will have many breeding successes and many failures in those years, but that knowledge doesnt make these losses any easier to take.