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Osprey Saga by M.C. Koblos

Week 26: The End … and the Beginning

I finally I saw Junior bring a fish of his own, grasped in his claws, to the nest site. He didn’t eat it in little beak-sized pieces like his mom fed to him, but rather tore at it voraciously, ripping it into pieces too big to swallow that he then had to step on with his foot to rip into pieces small enough to get into his beak and down his throat.

Week 25: The Days of Free Food Are Numbered

I have seen no evidence of any interest by Junior in fishing. He continues to be provided sustenance by his mom and dad. He never misses meal times on the nest platform, and his parents always oblige. Spoiled? You bet. He doesn’t realize that his days of free food are numbered.

Week 24: Peering into a Young Bird’s Future

The days go by, but I don’t see Junior catching his own fish yet. The other morning, I looked out the window and saw Mom and Dad both sitting separately on nearby pilings eating a fish of their own while Junior was sitting demurely on the nest site waiting for breakfast. Could the parents be purposely trying to drive him to get his own breakfast? Maybe. He’s gone all day now from the nest site, but he manages to be back for meal times and bed time. Typical kid.

Week 23: Too Hot Even for Osprey

All three are now gone from view most of the day. They are probably sitting up in trees to keep out of the sun. It has been blistering lately. I don’t know if any fishing lessons are going on. I haven’t seen any from my window, but that’s usually the next step after the young ones get flight proficient. Mother doesn’t feed Junior any more, but she stands next to him and lets him eat. He should be catching his own food pretty soon.

Week 22: On the Go

Last Monday morning when I went out to look for Junior, he was not on the pier he was on the night before. He was on the roof of a boathouse two piers farther away from his nest. His mother was with him and having him flap his wings and run around the roof. He would get about six inches into the air, then settle back on the roof. Finally, she got him to fly, led him home to the nest platform and fed him.

Week 21: We Have Lift-Off!

Today, July 29, at approximately 11:09am, Junior took to the air. He was out there on the nest platform with his mother, doing his calisthenics. When I looked again, the platform was empty. I got my binoculars and went out on my pier, knowing he would be nearby. Sure enough, there he was, two piers east of mine, sitting in the middle of the end section of the pier, his mother swooping in and out over him … and landing and talking to him … and taking off, trying to get him airborne again.

Week 19: T'ween

During the early part of the week, Olivia cleared all the twigs off the nest platform. The nest is gone. there remains only the bare platform itself, which she and Junior occupy. It is like the deck of an air carrier, cleared for air operations. Junior is as big as his mom now. She tries to get him to flap his wings, but he’s too lazy and after a few flaps just stands there like a dummy.

Week 19: On the Road to Independence

A milestone has been reached. Junior is finally feeding himself. Now he can stuff himself with fish to his heart’s content and grow even faster. Here’s how it came about.

Week 18: He — or She — Is a Big Baby

Junior is getting really big. He’s over half the size of his mother now, and is working his father hard to satisfy his ever-increasing appetite for fish, which his mother still feeds him one bite at a time. He was awkwardly stretching his wings out the other day; it won’t be long now before his mother will have him flapping his wings to develop his flight muscles. In case you wondered, even in hot weather, ospreys don’t need to drink water. They get enough from the fresh fish they consume.