Osprey Nestlings Pre-flight Test

by Larry Jordan on July 22, 2010

Osprey Female At Nest photos by Larry Jordan

I went out to check on a local Osprey nest yesterday and took some photos of the adults and the nestlings.  It was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the female was shading the nestlings as they waited for the male to return with some fish.  (Click on images for full size photos)

Observing birds as a photographer, you soon realize that birds have an abundance of patience.  Especially nesting birds.

As the temperature cooled down a bit, the female Osprey decided to take a break and left the nestlings to their own devices.  One of the youngsters felt like it had some room to try out its wings.

This is typical behavior of raptors before attempting their first flight.  I shot a short video of this nestling as it jumped into the air, wings flapping, in a pre-flight practice over the nest.  They are getting very close to their maiden flights.

The nestlings create quite a ruckus, sometimes to the dismay of their siblings.  It can be quite amusing.

The male Osprey did show up briefly when the female was gone and dropped off a sashimi tidbit.  Then he took off again to the noisy insistence of the nestlings, presumably to resume fishing.

Note that the male (above) has a clean white breast whereas the female, in the photos below, has a dark “necklace.”  You will also notice that the nestlings eyes are orange, not yet turning to the adult yellow and their feathers are tipped with buff.  You may have also noticed those fish hook talons on the adult male!

The female returned after the male resumed his fishing duties, offering some shade to the nestlings

as they, once more, waited patiently for fresh fish from the nearby Sacramento River.

For more cool sky shots, check out Skywatch Friday!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Crafty Green Poet July 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

that’s a stunning series of photos! Ospreys are such magnificent birds!

We saw some on a recent trip to Pitlochry, Scotland – the female of that pair is the oldest female osprey in Scotland and was really ill but recovered enough to see her chicks fledge
.-= Crafty Green Poet´s last blog ..Organic Fortnight =-.


Dina J July 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

Beautiful shots of the whole family!


Bram July 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

Beautiful and intereesting series


Seen on SkyWatch Friday


Jane July 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Awesome bird and wonderfully photographed, thanks for sharing them:)
.-= Jane´s last blog ..Skywatch Friday- Sun Sets Over the Mediterranean Sea =-.


Eaglesbrother July 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Those are really some beautiful Osprey..I bet they can hardly wait to sail the skies in freedom
.-= Eaglesbrother´s last blog ..Sky Watch Friday =-.


Eileen July 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Wow, awesome shots of the Osprey. The last shot is really cool with the three of them.
.-= Eileen´s last blog ..Pinks and blues =-.


DrillerAA July 23, 2010 at 3:33 am

What an amazing photo set. I am a huge fan of birds of prey and these captures are just stunning. Excellent work indeed. Have a great week-end.
.-= DrillerAA´s last blog ..Skywatch Friday Thoughts =-.


Dawn Fine July 23, 2010 at 4:48 am

Excellent photo, obeservations.
I got a big kick out of the video!
.-= Dawn Fine´s last blog ..♥Gorham mountain trail to the Bowl Acadia NP =-.


Larry July 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

@Juliet they are magnificent. I wonder how old your female is? According to Birds Of North America Online, the oldest female Osprey in North America is 23 years old. I’m glad she was able to see her chicks fledge 🙂

@Dina thank you very much

@Bram thanks for stopping by with a comment

@Jane thank you, it is my pleasure

@Bob I think they have probably taken their first flights by now. I may stop by tomorrow and look in on them

@Eileen Thanks. I really like that last “family portrait” shot myself 😉

@Driller thank you. I love raptors, they are such magnificent birds.

@Dawn thanks. I enjoyed watching the sibling’s behavior with each other. When the adult male dropped off the piece if fish, only one of the nestlings ate it as the other watched and waited for more food to be delivered. Amazing!


Thomas July 24, 2010 at 5:11 am

Wonderful documentation and images Larry.


Kim July 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

Thanks for the visit, Larry. What a thrill to come by and see your close ups of an osprey family! The couple who watch our local nesting pair’s nest from their hillside home said they haven’t seen the young ones yet, but I may have caught a shot from a distance of a juvenile sitting on the nest edge as an adult left . . .not sure. I hope to go back with my long lens in the next couple days for a better peek. Of course the whole neighborhood seems to be following what the osprey’s are up to. I love that. Your shots are magnificent and you had a great vantage point. What a treat to be able to share these sights! Thanks.
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Sunday Bridges 13- Double Helix Pedestrian Bridge =-.


NicoleB, Kuwait July 25, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Totally gorgeous, Larry!
I love Ospreys & to see them so beautifully close and while nesting, same time without disturbing them must be a wonderful experience indeed *sigh*
.-= NicoleB, Kuwait´s last blog ..Greater Sandplover- Wüstenregenpfeifer- Charadrius leschenaultii =-.


Kcalpesh July 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Awesome captures! Very well shot!
.-= Kcalpesh´s last blog ..A creek at Goa =-.


Amber July 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Wonderful shots! Brad and I were on the lake over the weekend and witnessed three fledglings somewhat clumsily catching an updraft, squawking and carrying on . Their behavior was fun to watch. Oh to be free like that…
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Lizards Need Love Too =-.


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