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

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