Objective: An Empty Nest
Note that the adult Osprey in the air above its nest has no fish clutched in its talons – it is not bringing food back to its young. Rather, it is doing everything in its power to entice its offspring to take off and catch their own meal.
An afternoon of observing juvenile Ospreys taking short flights from their nest assured me that the process of fledging had begun. In the Northeast, young Ospreys usually remain at or near their nest for at least 10 – 20 days after they can fly, during which time their parents continue to bring fish to them. (This seems quite generous, given that for the past two months both parents (primarily the father) have provided their offspring with food.) Finally, when the young are roughly three months old, the parents go all out to encourage their young to become self-sufficient and secure their own food.
On this particular day, the parents repeatedly soared over their nest and landed in distant trees while the young called out to them over and over. After several of these attempts to lure the juvenile birds away from the nest had failed, one of the parents flew to the nest and proceeded to hover for at least 30 seconds directly above the nest (see photo) before flying towards the nearest body of water. Still, the young birds didn’t budge. True independence would have to wait at least for one more day.
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