At last some wonderful sunshine here in Perthshire and a gorgeous day at Loch of the Lowes.
Our Osprey chick Blue 44 is getting more and more vigorous in his wing flapping and strengthening his muscles in preparation for his first flight- which could be as little as a week away. He is seven weeks old today and osprey chicks usually fledge around 7.5-8 weeks of age, so we are approaching the ‘thrills and spills’ stage when there are lots of vertical lifts off the nest, crash landings and so on, whilst the bird gets used to its controls!
A couple more Osprey Q and A’S:
Q: How well do the chicks fly at first?
A: Osprey chicks can struggle a little at first when fledging like many birds, but instinct soon kicks in and they soar . Landings however, are another matter- I have seen chicks land on siblings, overshoot the nest edge, and end up on their noses! The young birds will continue to return to the nest for some weeks after fledging ( unlike smaller birds) for meals and resting at night, so we will continue to see Blue 44 for some time after fledgeing.
Q: Will the chick feed itself after fledging?
A: The way Ospreys learn to fish for themselves is still a bit of a mystery- its seems to be almost entirely instinctive as the parents don’t seem to do much ‘demonstration’. It used to be thought that the parents, particularly the male, continue to provide fish for the chicks to eat, until he leaves on migration- forcing the chicks to start providing for themselves. However, we have seen young ospreys here fishing for themselves just two weeks after fledging, when both parents are still around- as this photo from 2010 shows.