On Thursday, 19 August, 2021 the nestling Osprey, Malin, had a forced fledge.
Malin hatched either the 16th or the 18th of June. His parents were Collins and Marsha. The smallest chick died on 28 June and the larger of the two surviving died on 14 July. The body of that bird was not removed so the cause was never determined.
For the three weeks prior to Malin’s forced fledge, so much had improved on this nest. The heat of June had dissipated. The tiny fish that came to the nest were slightly larger. The deliveries became more frequent. They were so frequent that Malin often turned away from being fed he was so full. Malin began to grow. He stood and walked more and was flapping his wings. This is a video from 9 August of little Malin exercising:
Still Malin’s development was behind. His tail had just grown to reveal six dark bands on the day of the forced fledge. The earlier concern over his missing or delayed feathers was disappearing. There was great hope, because of the food deliveries, that Malin would fledge successfully. He just needed additional time and he would also require no less than a month on the nest to hone his skills while the parents provided him with food. Then an intruder enters the air space of the nest on top of the fire watch tower, 120 feet up, on 19 August in the late afternoon.
Some claim that this was a perfect first fledge. But Osprey experts who have worked for more than 50 years in the field say it is anything but. This was a forced fledge. In normal fledges, the bird goes a short distance. The bird returns to the nest. The fledgling will be lured back to the nest with food – just as Collins and Marsha tried with Malin. This is what is happening with Kindness, the Bald Eagle fledgling up in Glacier Gardens. The fledglings spend, on average, 36 days being fed on the nest while taking flights, getting its wings stronger. It is well known that if there is a forced fledge then the bird needs assistance. It will be on the ground. Time is of the essence!
This is Malin on 14 August. Oh what a beautiful bird.
It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm that our beautiful Malin died. The circumstances of Malin’s death are not clear but I believe that he was alive until the time when the parents quit going to the nest. Their last visit was in the afternoon of the 21st.
My concern is always the bird. When there is a forced fledge it is imperative that individuals in charge act immediately. An excellent example is when ‘Silo Chick’ fell off the Patuxent Osprey Nest #2. The park had closed but help was notified and they responded quickly. The chick was saved and back on the nest within 2 hours. That chick is alive today because two people who were off work for the weekend got their canoe and drove out to the park and found the chick. It really is that simple.
I want to thank each and every one of you for caring for this little Osprey. I have received so many notes from you telling me how much Malin meant to you. Malin will always be our strong little warrior.
Malin’s soul is soaring.
My screen shots and video clips were taken from the Collins Marsh Streaming Cam.