What do Ospreys do after they fledge?

Tiny Little or Blue 463 and her siblings are giving you a visual answer below!

They return to the nest where the father will deliver a fish.

Sometimes the birds eat the fish on the nest and sometimes they carry the fish in their talons to a perch to eat it.

Blue 464, the male and the first to fledge, has this fish. Tiny Little is the bird on the right. Notice how she has started looking at that nice Flounder. Blue 462, the other female, is at the back on the left. It is drizzling on their nest today. This won’t be the last fish probably. Fingers crossed for another delivery or two.

Blue 462 and Tiny Little, 463, see dad and are food calling to him. White YW knows they want more fish! And this is what Osprey fledglings typically do after their first flight. They get better at flying and the parent feeds them. Most do not catch their first fish until they are on migration.

Here is Tiny Little food calling to White YW, the dad:

Roy Dennis, the UK Osprey expert who has worked with the birds for sixty years, puts it this way in his book, A Life of Ospreys:

“The first flight may take only a few minutes, with the bird landing back on the nest or in a nearby tree, but other flights are more adventurous and can last for ten minutes or more.” (77)

“The young birds now start to spend more time away from the nest but still remain within a few hundred metres of it, using the eyrie as a meeting place where they receive food.” “While they wait for their father, the young are often dispersed within two or three hundred metres of the nest tree, quite often to be found perching low down on fallen trees, stumps or rocks. The young birds keep a good look out on the horizon for their father and, as soon as he flies in with the next fish, they rush to the eyrie to meet him, while the male leaves immediately to catch a fish for the next chick in line” (78).

The American Osprey expert, Alan Poole puts it this way, “For at least a month after fledging, the nest remains the center of a young Osprey’s life, for it is there that it continues to receive food from the male parent – consider this an allowance of sorts” (Ospreys. The Revival of the Global Raptor, 104).

The young birds will disperse after spending this post-fledge period on the nest. Not all migrate; it depends on where they live.

If anyone tries to tell you that Osprey fledglings do not return to the nest after fledging, you have your answer! Of course, there are other examples: the two fledglings, LR 1 and 2 on the Loch of the Lowes Nest, Only Bob, Blue 496 on the Llyn Clywedog Nest, Dysynni and Ystwyth on the Dyfi Osprey Nest, Blue 095 and 096 at Rutland Water Manton Bay. Of course, there are lists of those in the US including Tiny Little and its siblings at the Achieva Osprey Nest. What about Dunrovin? I dislike making long lists to reveal a truth. They are boring to read but the evidence is there.

Susan Theys, owner of Wildlife of Wisconsin and a wildlife rehabber, will go to Collins Marsh Nature Centre and look for Malin today. She has the key to open the door to the tower so she can look over the landscape. There have been no visits to the nest by the parents so far today. It is now 1pm nest time. If there is any news, I will let you know.

Malin and his mother were frightened. Malin had been pancaking and he flew not from a position of standing up and flapping his wings – the norm for fledging -but from laying down. He was scared of the intruder. Because of this he might not have imprinted the way back to the nest in his brain – this is what the birds do with their short flights off the nest after fledging. We continue to hope he is alright and I am grateful to Susan for returning to check on him. Here is the video of that flight. I regret that I cannot upload the entire sequence of Marsha alerting and looking around the nest but you should have some idea watching this short video:

Thank you so much for joining me today. It is still raining!!!!!!!! It is so wonderful. Take care, see you soon.

Thank you to the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust and the Foulshaw Osprey Nest for their streaming cam where I took the images of the fledglings of White YW and Blue 35.

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