Oh, Malin!

The Collins Marsh Osprey chick is due to get an official name. Suggested names have been turned in and voting should begin tomorrow for the name. Please go to the Neustadter Nature Center FB page and cast your vote. Here is the link to that FB page. Be patient if the names are not up on Tuesday. However, check back often because the voting will be open for only a short time.


Since ‘S’ came up with the name Malin meaning “little warrior”, everyone from the Achieva Osprey chat group has called this little one ‘Malin.’ It is difficult to let a name go once it imprints itself in one’s mind. My children could not say ‘Granny’ when they were talking about my grandmother, they said ‘Candy.’ And so, in her 80s, that is what she was called for the rest of her life – not only by my children but, by everyone. And so, it might well be the same for Malin.

Malin’s parents are Collins and Marsha – named after Collins Marsh. Malin hatched on approximately 16 June making him 55 days old today.* That means Malin is one day shy of his 8-week hatch birthday.

Sometimes fish deliveries are good and some times they are abysmal. Malin had no food from early evening Saturday until Monday morning. There were two deliveries Monday morning. It was the third delivery that roused my interest. I have taped several short segments of that feeding. It is better if you watch the one-minute clips than my trying to describe them. Pay close attention to Malin’s behaviour. The fish arrived around 6:43 pm (there is no time on the streaming cam).

Act 1: Fish Delivery

Act 2. Malin is ravenous.

Act 3. Malin wants every morsel of fish!

Act 4: Malin and Mom finish off the fish.

After Malin finishes eating, s/he is so energized. She begins flapping her wings. Watch out Mom!

According to Alan Poole, the female Osprey loses between 10-15% of their body weight during the nestling period. Only when a piece of food is too large or when the chick/s stop food calling will she take bites for herself. He says, “It seems likely that the female parents are hungry much of the time they are raising young, especially as the young get older and take more food.” Certainly that is what we are seeing on the Collins Marsh nest today.

In terms of growth, Osprey chicks triple their body weight during their first 8 days after hatching. They will double this, on average, in the next four days. From 15 to 30 days after hatch, the Osprey nestlings “gain an average of forty grams or .09 lbs, about 2-3% of their body weight, every day,” says Poole. At the end of the 30 days, Osprey chicks will be 70-80% of their adult weight. On average, the Osprey nestling will take its first flight between 50 and 60 days. There are two exceptions to that timing: if the bird hatched on a non-migratory nest or if the chick had less food.

Malin is definitely in a migratory nest but, Malin is behind in development because of a lack of food. Precisely how far behind is unclear. Still, growth is clearly evident. Today there were four distinct dark bands on the tail with a 5th peeking through. The feathers are coming in nicely but they are not fully formed. Roy Dennis says that the full set of juvenile feathers should have grown in at 6 weeks. Malin, at 8 weeks, is still working on his.

Malin is clearly not ready to take his first flight. He is beginning to exercise his wings. Fledglings normally remain on the nest for at least a month after their first flight. This time helps them hone their flying skills. During this period, the male parent provides the fish. Fledglings do not normally catch their first fish until they begin migration – that said there are always exceptions to the rule. Migration for the Wisconsin Ospreys normally begins around the end of August or the beginning of September. Let us all wish that Malin is fed and afforded the time to perfect his flying before he has to leave the nest for his journey south.

There is really positive news coming out of Hawaii that I want to share with you. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is installing glow-in-the-dark diverters on electricity lines to try and stop seabirds that fly at night from crashing into the lines. By the end of 2021, the utility company expects to have installed 773 power line spans to help protect the Hawaiian Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, and the Band-rumped Storm Petrel. Already Hawaii has banned the release of helium balloons.

“Hawaiian petrel chick in its burrow. Photo credit: Andre Raine/Kaua’i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project” by USFWS Pacific is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

It has been a good day. Thunder woke me up early on Monday and we had some nice downpours. Then the heavy rain changed to showers. Now the thunder and the pouring rain have started again. Every blade of grass has turned emerald green, the bushes and trees have all perked up, and the birds sang as loud as they could at dusk. It is simply wonderful!

Thank you so much for joining me. Everyone take care. See you soon.

Thanks go out to the Collins Marsh Nature Centre for their Osprey streaming cam where I took my video clips. A big thank you to ‘S’ who alerted me to the actions of the utility company on Kauai to divert night flying sea birds away from their power lines.

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