Wednesday, 24 July 2013

First Chick fledged.

On Sunday 14th July, one of the young ospreys at the main nest became quite bold and flew up on to the perch beside the nest. It was more like a flapping hop than a true flight, really. It remained perched there for quite some time while the other two chicks remained in the nest, seemingly unimpressed by the show of sudden adventurous activity. A great deal of wing flapping and wing stretching has been taking place at the nest, as the young birds flex their soon to be tested flight muscles. The more they practice and exercise, the stronger they will become which will make the first flights less feeble and more purposeful which would give a young bird greater confidence.

The boldest chick was clearly ready to make that move from flightless to flight, as having remained on the perch for quite a while, it decided to take the plunge for a maiden trip. The volunteers on duty at the centres of Kailzie Gardens and Glentress Forest, missed seeing it go but they were faced with the obvious fact that the camera clearly only showed that there were now two chicks in the nest.

This can be a worrying time but the chick is the right age, weight and ready to go. The less brave siblings must follow soon. The male bird (white leg ring SS) came into the nest bearing a good sized fish and began to feed the two remaining young birds later in the afternoon. The young explorer did not return for a feed, perhaps it was enjoying the newly found freedom as the world suddenly opened up and the surroundings of the nest became shrunken as the open countryside beckoned for further exploration. Then again it could have been so alarmed at the surprise flight that it was clinging by its talons, to a nearby branch of a tree and wondering how it was ever going to return back to the nest.

It did manage a return flight later in the day and landed confidently on the nest, giving the appearance that it had done all this flight sort of thing before!

On Monday 15th July, two chicks and their mum were at the nest and the errant fledged chick was off exploring again.  There is only a day between the ages of the three chicks but it doesn’t always follow that they will all fledge together or on consecutive days. The chicks will go when they are ready and sometimes need a fair bit of encouragement from mum and dad. They will try to starve the remaining youngsters from the nest so that they will fly when they are hungry enough to get to dad with a tasty fish.

The family will use the nest regularly as a feeding place and a place to safely rest during the next month but as all the chicks master flight, there will be longer periods away from the nest, as they become fitter and lose the baby fat from their bodies to become finely tuned muscles.

This time of year in the Scottish Borders is a great time to try to spot families of ospreys out on flying and hunting trips together. It is good to keep a look out over any stretch of water where there is good fishing, including the River Tweed, as birds patrol the territory finding favourable hunting areas.
Please do report any sightings of the ospreys to us, especially if the leg ring lettering and colours are visible and make a note of them. Please also note whether the coloured ring (Darvic ring) is on the birds left or right leg and if possible take a photograph. We can then find out which bird it is and where it is from.

Here  are some more photos from the ringing of the ospreys last week and the children of St.Ronan's Primary School who came to see the ringing.

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