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Observations & Images
12 April 2006
Age of nestling(s) in days: 1

Have the Eggs Hatched?

The answer appears to be "yes" based on the behavior of both of the Ospreys. The egg or eggs probably started hatching yesterday, or even the day before, which would explain the female Osprey's refusal to leave the nest. Here the new parents are watching something very closely in the nest. A behavior they both repeated throughout the visit.

The male would frequently fly in and out of the nest. Here he is seen coming in for a landing. When he did leave the nest he would perch nearby. Note the new tangle of rope added sometime since yesterday's visit.
In a previously unseen behavior, the male Osprey grabs a bill full of feathers on the female Osprey's neck and pulls her out of the nest cup. The male Osprey flew off after dragging the female to the edge of the nest.
Once standing, the female Osprey produced a fish from out of the nest.
She then proceeded to tear small bits of flesh and meat off the fish carcass.
She would then lean forward with the small bit of fish in her bill.
She would have to tip far forward to reach down into the deep bottom of the nest.
She appears to be feeding a hatchling hidden down deep in the nest in this and the following two pictures.
Alan Poole states that, "Most Ospreys hatch one or two days after pipping their shells.....Like other birds of prey, they emerge as 'semi-precocial' young. This means that down covers most of their body, that their eyes open hours after hatching, and that they can actively take food from their parents bill."
Alan Poole continues by saying, "....the best way to tell if Osprey young have hatched is to watch for feedings. A female parent with chicks remains at the nest after the male delivers a fish, dipping her head low to rip off small bits of the prey and delicately presenting them to her chicks."
The female Osprey repeated the feeding behavior so closely it was like she had read Alan Poole's book, Ospreys: A Natural and Unnatural History!
In some ways it is business as usual for the male Osprey who returned during one feeding carrying a stick for the nest.
The female flew off and returned. She is seen here flying into the nest after a brief absence. A short period later both Ospreys were still in the nest and became quite agitated when another Osprey trespassed overhead.
Both parents spent long periods together and were fascinated in watching whatever is going on in the nest.
The male flies off and the female settles herself down in the nest. Speaking with Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge Ranger Joanna Taylor, she informed me the Ospreys will continue to cover the hatchlings by sitting in the nest for some time to come to keep them safe and warm.
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OspreyWatch by Bob Montanaro
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