Parenting, Osprey Style

One of the most magnificent birds in South Florida is the Osprey. This past week, my husband and I revisited this great “Fish Hawk” at its Flamingo nesting grounds in Everglades National Park.  One nest, positioned atop a dead Saw Palmetto and near the visitor parking lot provided excellent viewing. (Note: Some files are large and though optimized may require a bit longer than normal to load. Some optimization artifacts are also evident. Sorry!)

Osprey Parent with Two Chicks

Osprey Parent with Two Chicks

The chicks on this nest seemed nearly full grown. Notice that their coloration is slightly lighter and more mottled than their parent. The father has an all white breast and the mother’s breast has a scattered necklace of brown feathers.

Duck! Dad's Landing

Duck! Dad's Landing

The nest’s depth kept both chicks hidden from view. Although I couldn’t see inside, based on other nests in the area, I assume it was lined with soft Spanish moss.  When the parents weren’t on the nest, at least one of them could be seen close by on a nearby tree.

Standing Guard

Standing Guard

While I watched, mother Osprey arrived with some new nesting material. Both the ranger, who happened to be observing, and I were mystified at this latest addition. Was she shoring the nest up due to the increasing weight it must bear or was she simply . . .

Redecorating

Redecorating

When a chick became hungry it would call loudly until dinner arrived.

I Want Food!

I Want Food!

dads-bringing-dinner

Yellowtail, My Favorite!

Mother Osprey carefully tore off small pieces of fresh fish and fed them to each hungry youngster.

Sashimi

Sashimi

Open Wide!

Open Wide!

After dinner, both parents retired to nearby trees leaving the chicks alone in the nest. One chick took this opportunity to try spreading its wings. It wobbled and seemed to have trouble figuring out what to do with such long appendages.

How do these Wings Work?

How do these Wings Work?

As we prepared to leave two other parents arrived. It seems this Red-bellied Woodpecker couple also laid claim to the old palmetto as a perfect location for raising a family.

First Floor Apartment Dwellers

First Floor Apartment Dwellers

Humm . . . Do you think old palmetto trees might give maternity wards a run for their money?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Parenting, Osprey Style

    • Thank you, Carsten. I hand-held on these shots. Needless to say, I’m thankful for Nikon lenses with vibration reduction.

  1. I enjoyed your nice simple story about how it is with this beautiful nature. And the woodpeckers picked a good spot, not many raiders would brave the Raptor.

  2. What wonderful photos! Looks like you had fun watching these birds too. I especially like the shots of the parent feeding fish to the babies. Well done!

  3. Your raptors are several weeks ahead of ours. These look as if they will be flying in a few more days. Here they still look like little puff-balls. The photo quality is execeptional, such fierce looking creatures.

  4. Enjoyed this essay very much. The nest must have been very close to get such detailed shots even with the heavy cropping involved. The Ospreys up here won’t be fledging until May. Do Florida Osprey’s have more than one clutch per year? That might be the reason she was still tending to the nest or maybe it just needed some repairs from the young ones movements.

    • Thank you, Scott. This nest was close to the road, although there were several others in the area. It was an Osprey watcher’s paradise. Florida Osprey nest from December to February. As for the mysterious stick addition to the nest your guess is as good as any. Home improvements/repairs sounds quite logical.

  5. Pingback: hanging together « Morningjoy’s Weblog

  6. Beautiful. We’ve been watching a pair of osprey in our neighborhood, but have not yet seen any chicks. Wonderful photos! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: