Good morning all!
It’s another fairly dreich day here today and not a lot of wind. Will that put our chicks off their maiden flights or will they decide to take the plunge? Our fingers are poised, ready to record the big event, so we’re hoping it will be during the day when we are actually here, unlike last year when the eldest chick decided to wait 20 minutes after we left for the evening! You’ll notice Lady spending much more of her time off the nest and this is to encourage the chicks to follow her. Dad will also bring less food so they have some incentive to leave.
There have been many questions regarding what happens after fledging, so here are a few pointers.
- once the chicks fledge, they will continue to return to the nest to receive food deliveries for dad, who will bring in whole, live fish and leave the chicks to work on their feeding skills.
- They will practice fishing and if they’re lucky might even catch a fish or two!
- Mum usually leaves first, at the beginning of August, but we are unsure what she will do this year. She may wait a bit longer to build up her strength, or she may not migrate at all.
- The young will spend less and less time on the nest and from mid-August onwards, they will start to migrate.
- Dad will leave first with the chicks following, but once on migration they are on their own.
- It will take anywhere up to 8 weeks for them to make the full migration to their winter roosting spot, with females making more stopovers than males (hence the earlier departure).
- They will fly predominantly during the day, but may fly at night, particularly over bodies of water.
- The young will spend the first 3 – 5 years in their wintering grounds until they are sexually mature, and then return to the UK to breed.
- They will head in the direction of their nest site, finding their own sites and partners on the way, starting the cycle all over again!