Blue YZ has fledged today but has yet to return to the nest (as of 7.15pm) but we are not unduly worried. She took off for her maiden flight this morning just after 10am and flew strongly and confidently towards her mother in a nearby tree. She landed out of sight in the dense woodland across the loch, which we have been scanning carefully all day for glimpses of her. We have also been on the lookout from various vantage points around both of the local lochs, but she has hidden herself well!
The male osprey brought in a fish this afternoon to the nest- our female took the fish and flew up the loch with it calling, presumably towards her offspring. There were definitely osprey calls coming back from the far corner of the loch, which we think were from the chick.
It is not at all unusual for an osprey chick to take hours or even days to build up the confidence to fly back to the nest after a first flight. It is understandable that they might be tired and a bit shocked after their first flight, and want to remain in situ- especially if a parent still brings you food.
Many of you will remember that last year this chick’s full brother Blue 44 disappeared from the nest at fledging for four days and still made it safely back. Normally the osprey chicks hang around the nest for several weeks after fledging, only gradually becoming bolder and more independent as the parents bring less and less food back to the nest.
Q; I am wondering why Blue YZ bobs and weaves her head? Is she just looking at things, other birds or is it something else – a baby habit – I don’t see the female doing it?
A: Moving the head side to side is, we believe, the chick practising focussing on distant and moving objects. Ospreys have incredible eyesight and you will often see the adults do just such movements when they are hunting- focussing in on fish in the water before diving. The chick does it a lot during development, presumably as practise and as it becomes aware of the detail in its environment.
Q: What if Blue YZ were to fall now from the nest, what would happen?
A: It is not unknown for young ospreys to accidentally fall from the nest before they are ready to fly – in some incidences it is safe to intervene and replace the chick in the nest to allow it to recover and fledge as normal, though some are injured or don’t survive. Luckily this has not happened at this nest as far as I recall.
Q: After fledging, will there be anything to see on the cam? Will they return to the nest at all after Blue YZ leaves, or will they be only visible to visitors at the center?
A: It is normal for osprey chicks to return a few hours or so after their first flight and keep coming back to the nest for a few weeks thereafter. The parents will continue to provide food for a while yet and use the nest for roosting at night. The amount of osprey activity on the nest will gradually taper off during August until the birds leave around the end of the month. We will continue to stream the webcam until the last birds leave for the season.