Juvenile Ospreys – Ready to Face The World

by John Briggs on August 21, 2011

in Bird Photographs, Bird Photography Weekly, Birding Videos, Blog

This post will probably be the final update on the three juvenile Ospreys that I been watching all summer long. To refresh your memory, back in the spring, an adult pair of Osprey moved into the platform nest in the harbor just off Fort Road, on the campus of the Southern Maine Community College. Three eggs were laid and all successfully hatched.

Young Osprey grow very rapidly and are ready to fledge when they are about 50 days old. They continue to stay near the parents for another 50 days while they learn the hunting and flying skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. The family will go their separate ways just prior to fall migration. While Osprey nesting success is quite high, it’s after the young leave the nest when they will begin facing bigger problems. Major causes of post-fledgling mortality are electrocution, emaciation, gunshot wounds, and poisoning.

The Osprey migration is not due to the fact that these birds cannot survive Maine’s cold and snowy weather. They migrate because the cold winter weather freezes the rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds, making their food supply, fresh fish, inaccessible. Because these fish provide 98% of the Osprey’s diet, its unavailability would likely cause the Osprey to starve to death. To survive, the Osprey migrate south to Florida and South America.

The juvenile Ospreys that I have been watching leave their nest for short excursions around the harbor. I’ve spotted them on the rock jetty that leads to the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse and on masts of sailboats at Spring Point Marina. The adult Ospreys still bring fish for the juveniles, as evident in one of the photos below. It seems that flounder is the food of choice for these growing birds.

It won’t be long until these birds leave the nest permanently. Some will migrate to Florida, where fish are abundant and the waters don’t freeze. Others will migrate to South America, a journey of over 4,000 miles. These young birds are ready to face the world and all of the dangers that lie in wait. If they survive, some of them may return to Maine in the spring, and possibly back to the nest they were raised in to raise a family of their own. I will miss them and wish them luck in their journey.

Bird Photography: Juvenile Ospreys

Enjoy these photos and an HD video of this Osprey family. They will soon be leaving for a warmer climate and all we will be left with is an empty nest and fond memories.

The following photos were taken with a Canon 7D and a Canon 400mm f/4 L IS lens. Simply click one of the thumbnails below for a full-sized view, and then use your arrow key to navigate through the rest of the photos. ©2011 John Briggs Photography | All Rights Reserved

Dimension: 560×480 | Video bit rate: 1000Kbps | length: 50 seconds
Playback: Click Play Button | Broadband Connection Recommended
Video: Juvenile Osprey eating Flounder | ©2011 John Briggs Photography

Happy birding!

World Bird Wednesday

{ 27 comments }

NatureFootstep August 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

beautiful shots of the juveniles. So great to see them and the video is excellent. :)
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Robin Robinson August 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Beautiful series, John. I had a nest this summer too and got lots of "as they grew" shots. It amazed me how quickly they grew out of chicks that were really cute to big, bad fish eatin' fiends. Great captures.
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Mick August 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Great photos and you have had a wonderful opportunity to watch these birds through the first part of their life cycle. Here’s hoping that they survive the next few dangerous months on their own!

Sharon August 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

So the parents have left the juveniles to themselves? Hard to believe summer is almost over!

Julie G August 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Exceptional juvenile osprey photographs! Exquisite detail. Fabulous captures of osprey behavior. A terrific series!
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aquapunct August 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I too wish them a safe migration, and hope they return to you next year. Beautiful photography; beautiful bird!

corralena August 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

Wonderful photos of the juvenile osprey. Love the video!

Eileen August 23, 2011 at 4:38 am

Great photos of the Osprey. And I loved the video!

Andrew August 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

A wonderful post…beautiful images and a fantastic video ….
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Jillsy Girl August 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

What superb captures!
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springman August 23, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Excellent series John, it has been fun seeing these birds come of age. That was one heck of a Hi-def video! I will be wishing your ospreys safe journey. Thanks for sharing!

fjällripan August 24, 2011 at 12:39 am

Wonderful photos of the Ospreys! What a luck to get to see in their nest. They are so beautiful..

Kathiesbirds August 24, 2011 at 1:32 am

Outstanding detail in these shots. You have captured their essence!
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Stewart M August 24, 2011 at 4:55 am

Hi there – splendid set of pictures. I always like images of Ospreys – I wonder how many people will look at an osprey somewhere in the world each day! Me in Australia all the way up to northern Europe and North America – its a great think to think about!
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holdingmoments August 24, 2011 at 6:38 am

Such magnificent birds John, and great captures.
A real tragedy that their hazards in life are due to mankind.
Enjoyed the video.
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Boom & Gary August 24, 2011 at 8:26 am

Wonderful post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Nicole August 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I'm glad they grew up safe and sound!
Good journey little ones :) !
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Modesto August 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Very good work!!!
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pattyler1 August 24, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Wonderful stills and video! Wow – they're beautiful birds!
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Arija August 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

How lovely that you could watch a family being raised to maturity. They are such beautiful birds and I am impressed by their delicate table manners as seen in your video. No gulping, no fighting and no squawking . . . impressive.
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Victoria August 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Marvelous images! A real treat to see these beautiful birds up close and so clearly!
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Victoria Porter August 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Terrific video too!

@onejackdaw August 25, 2011 at 10:26 am

Great shots and great video, John. Looks like you had a supreme observation post. Enjoyed reading your intro. Hope they'll all survive!
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Victoria August 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I dropped by yesterday while browsing WBW on my iPad… seems the comments didn't take! I tried to leave two so now I'm trying again and will leave just the one (combining both from yesterday's visit along with observations about using an iPad just for the fun of it). One thing about viewing your blog on the iPad is that the lovely method of viewing the photos large by opening one large and then using the arrow keys to browse through the images doesn't work. No matter, I opened each individually and they are all stunning! (works fine here on my computer) And the video is totally awesome!
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Chris August 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Wow these are gorgeous shots John and a very interesting post. Iðve seen it for the first time this summer but could not take pictures as it was high up in the sky (at least too far for a nice shot).. I envy your pictures a lot and wish these three members of the family good luck. I hope you will happen to see them again in the coming years….. Any capture-recapture programs are performed on them???
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Larry Jordan August 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Great series of photos on the Osprey John! I love watching these fish hawks do their thing on the rivers and lakes here in northern California. You always get such gorgeous shots of your Ospreys. They are amazing birds yes?
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Neil August 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Beautiful photos and great video I like the way they can turn their heads around.
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