At the Osprey Nest

In Abbotsford, near the Fraser River, there is an osprey nest I like to visit from time to time. Last year, I was able to watch a pair of ospreys raise one chick. On various visits, I saw the adults on the nest, and later when the egg had hatched, bringing fish to the chick. This year, this same pair has had two chicks that are now close to fledging. I was lucky enough to see the ospreys mating in late April, shortly after their return to the nest. More recently I have watched as the parents return with fish and the juveniles practice flapping their wings, soon ready to take flight. One is clearly more advanced than the other- I believe it hatched earlier than the other. But earlier this week I was able to watch the mother selectively feed the less developed of the two chicks. It has been interesting to watch how the one parent on the nest is well aware of the approach of the other with food, well before I can hear or see the approaching parent. It is also interesting to see how defensive the ospreys become when an eagle or vulture passes nearby. On my last visit to the nest, I was also able to observe a raccoon and two black bears that were foraging nearby (too far for good photos). I expect one of the juveniles will fledge this week. I look forward to more visits.

Osprey in flight near nest in late April.
Male osprey approaching nest.
Male osprey, landing on female.
Note the manner in which the male has clenched its talons to prevent harm to the female.
Three months later – July 25. Mother osprey with two chicks.
Male osprey, bringing “catch of the day” to the nest.
Mother feeding juvenile osprey. She would break off pieces of fish and feed the two juveniles. It seemed that she was deliberately feeding the lesser developed juvenile more. This happens to be the more developed juvenile.
Male osprey, returning to the nest with more fish. I have observed the osprey delivering full fish , as well as “half fish”, as in this photo.
The two juveniles. The one juvenile has been spreading its wings over the last week. The second juvenile has not started this behaviour yet.
Female osprey returning to the nest with a stick that it carefully placed. The juveniles clearly thought that mother was returning with food. Was the mother teaching Nest Building 101?
Mother watching junior flexing its wings.
Father, off to do more fishing.

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