Osprey Nestlings Pre-flight Test

by Larry on July 22, 2010

Osprey Female At Nest photos by Larry Jordan

I went out to check on a local Osprey nest yesterday and took some photos of the adults and the nestlings.  It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the female was shading the nestlings as they waited for the male to return with some fish.  (Click on images for full size photos)

Observing birds as a photographer, you soon realize that birds have an abundance of patience.  Especially nesting birds.

As the temperature cooled down a bit, the female Osprey decided to take a break and left the nestlings to their own devices.  One of the youngsters felt like it had some room to try out its wings.

This is typical behavior of raptors before attempting their first flight.  I shot a short video of this nestling as it jumped into the air, wings flapping, in a pre-flight practice over the nest.  They are getting very close to their maiden flights.

The nestlings create quite a ruckus, sometimes to the dismay of their siblings.  It can be quite amusing.

The male Osprey did show up briefly when the female was gone and dropped off a sashimi tidbit.  Then he took off again to the noisy insistence of the nestlings, presumably to resume fishing.

Note that the male (above) has a clean white breast whereas the female, in the photos below, has a dark “necklace.”  You will also notice that the nestlings eyes are orange, not yet turning to the adult yellow and their feathers are tipped with buff.  You may have also noticed those fish hook talons on the adult male!

The female returned after the male resumed his fishing duties, offering some shade to the nestlings

as they, once more, waited patiently for fresh fish from the nearby Sacramento River.

For more cool sky shots, check out Skywatch Friday!

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