A fairly routine day on our osprey nest today, with the chick sitting in the nest most of the day and eating another brown trout brought in by dad. Interestingly, we have just past the 300 fish mark so far this season- not an inconsiderable achievement by our male bird considering the difficult weather he’s had to content with. So far, Pike and Brown Trout have been the most popular catches (with just over 100 of each) with the Trout now becoming more common, whereas he seemed to favour Pike in the earlier months. Perch and Rainbow Trout have also been on the menu and even a very unusual eel!
Some more Osprey questions:
Q: Why does the chick not stay on the nest at night where it is safe? Where does he go?
A: Our Chick Blue44 is getting more and more adventurous and probably just fancies a change of scenery. He is also now able to choose a more sheltered spot- Osprey nests are notoriously windblown and exposed as the birds favour the protection a good all round view gives them ( they are a bit paranoid after being hunted to extinction once already) over comfort/ shelter in a nest site. He usually just sits in one of the nearby trees- just like his dad has been doing all season at night. Unfortunately this is a little behind the camera so out of view.
Q: Why is the female spurning the male’s attempts to mate? Is she just too old? Can we hope for another chick this year?
A: Our male obviously has a high breeding instinct, but the female will not accept his advances now- she knows it is the wrong time of year- osprey only ever rear one family per year. If the birds were to nest now, there would not be enough time for the chicks to mature before they had to migrate to Africa in autumn and they would not survive. Therefore we will have to wait until next year for (hopefully) more Osprey chicks to be born.
Q: Do they breed in Africa or on Migration?
A: No, the birds only breed once and they almost all come north to Europe to do it- to take advantage of our long daylight, abundant food and lack of predators. The only Ospreys that breed in Africa are the small numbers of resident birds in places such as the Cape Verde Islands which stay there all year, despite the shorter days and predators, and raise a family in their summer, just like ours.