Wildlife Diary Monday July 23rd: A Normal Day

Our Osprey chick Blue 44 has had a much more normal day again today on the nest, with only short flights away from home, which is entirely normal and exactly what we would expect at this stage. Last weeks disappearance straight after fledging wasn’t so normal – it’s almost like he has finally read the book as I happy to be a typical fledgling osprey!

As I write, he is roosted up in the silver birch tree directly underneath the nest. We can see him from the hides (though his camouflage is brilliant and you really need to know where to look) and we can hear him on the camera chattering away to his parents, especially when they have been on the nest.

At this stage, it is entirely normal for him to spend a few hours away from the nest, and this is not a sign he is in trouble- in fact each of his short flights have been more and more assured and confident which is a great sign. This time of year it is always easier to see him from the hides than on the camera- which is designed for nest viewing and can’t swivel round to look behind and below itself too well. Why not visit the reserve and try your hand at “spot the osprey” in the far shore for yourself? A tip: Lindsey is brilliant at it so look where she looks!

 Two other things of note today: firstly another visit by an intruder osprey who flew very close to the nest whist all three of our family were in residence- but left pursued by our male at speed!

Secondly, a strange bit of behaviour from our female who this morning, jumped on our chick’s back- but crucially with her talons curled closed. We don’t believe she meant him any harm, so either she was trying to push him down and make him stay in the nest, or it was a strange accident?

 Lastly some of the Questions we’ve had recently (there is a backlog but I will try to get through them over the next few days)

Q: Did the chick mean to fledge or did he fall? Is the female trying to dissuade him from trying again?

A: This is an interesting theory, but I think the chick did genuinely mean to leave the nest- though he bounced off a branch this is not uncommon, and he certainly flew quite well.  I have seen young ospreys be accidentally caught in a gust of wind whilst flapping and take off by accident but this was much more confident.

Q: Why did the mother attack Blue 44 on his return to the nest- was she scolding him or didn’t she recognise him?

A: This behaviour is very odd and interesting- we are certainly seeing behaviours here that are puzzling, though perhaps in view of Rutland Osprey projects experiences this week, perhaps not so uncommon. The most likely interpretation of this birds behaviour would be a parent making it clear to a chick that it had done something wrong- all animals teach their young for their own safety this way.  If she had not reconised him, she would have been much more violent and persistent if she thought he was an intruder.

 Q: Is his left leg ok?  Doesn’t the ring hurt?

A: Yes he is fine- he seems sound in limb and wing thankfully! The ring is incredibly light weight and designed not to irritate the tough scaled skin below.

 Q: How long till he leaves the nest for good?

A: It is normal for these birds to hang around the nest for anything up to a month after fledging , but Blue 44 is determined to do things his own way , so who knows how long he will stay. He will be fully independent from his parents in about a month and ready to migrate for the first time soon after- if he stays out of trouble!

 

Preface

Our Osprey chick Blue 44 has had a much more normal day again today on the nest, with only short flights away from home, which is entirely normal and exactly …

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