“Teenage” Ospreys Spread Their Wings

By . August 27th, 2015. Posted in Wildlife
Mother (right) and daughter look-alikes.

Mother (right) and daughter look-alikes.

Like mother, like daughter…osprey style. The youngster (on the left) is almost as big as her mother, and definitely a look-alike.

As with human parents, August is emptying-the-nest month for ospreys. The raptors, however, must prepare their young for a journey of thousands of miles. Solo. Each of our four ospreys will fly its own path to a winter home in South America. For a juvenile who has barely left her baby fluff behind, it’s a daunting rite of passage.

Our two osprey chicks took their first flights only a month ago. With so little time to hone take-off and landing skills and learn to fish for themselves, you would think every flying minute would be spent in training. But juveniles will be juveniles…

Osprey balancing act

Osprey balancing act

Times two

Times two

The nearby purple martin houses were apparently much more entertaining to our newly acrobatic siblings. At first, Mike and I were not surprised to see one precariously perched there. Last year’s male chick had landed on a house (seemingly by accident) on his first flight (here’s the story), only to be shooed back to the nest by his sister. And that was that. But when we saw repeat performances of not one but both young ospreys, swaying and sliding and hopping around on their martin fun-houses, this year’s behavior appeared to be quite deliberate.

Watching the acrobats

Watching the acrobats

Uh oh, here comes Mama...

Uh oh, here comes Mama…

Mama watched from the nest for a few days while her two youngsters had their fling. Then, as Mike and I were enjoying yet another roof-top balancing act (yes, this is how we spend our time), Mama flew from the nest to the martin houses and began circling and diving toward her frolicking duo. A couple of parental swoops was all it took to send her offspring on their way.

One juvenile (wisely) flew in the opposite direction from the nest, while the other flew straight to it…followed by Mama. I don’t speak osprey, but the conversation didn’t need a translator. Take a look.

No more clowning around! Learn to fish!

No more clowning around! Learn to fish!


  1. Ann Engelman
    1:00 pm on 8/28/15

    Love this story! Sure have enjoyed the family through your stories this summer! What a treat. . .and who says animal don’t have feelings?! The mother scolding her chick is priceless!

  2. Kathy
    2:58 pm on 8/28/15

    I love that last photo too, Ann. The youngster looks like he’d rather be anywhere but in the nest at that point. Thanks for enjoying the summer antics with us.

  3. Andrea
    1:27 pm on 8/28/15

    Agreed! The youngster looks quite chastened 😔

  4. Kathy
    3:01 pm on 8/28/15

    He has that “caught in the act” look, Andrea. I’m so glad I caught the encounter as it unfolded. The same juvenile is in the nest right now, cheeping away. We will miss them, soon.

  5. Susan Prince
    3:26 pm on 8/28/15

    Oh, the rolling juvenile eyes! Classic! Love the story, Kathy.

  6. Kathy
    5:22 pm on 8/28/15

    Thanks so much, Susan. I was very happy to capture the encounter. Plus, that was the last time we saw the young ones on the martin houses…Mama rules.

  7. Kathy Bosin
    7:05 pm on 8/28/15

    NICE! Great shots!

  8. Kathy
    9:30 pm on 8/28/15

    Thanks, Kathy B. You and I are lucky to have such photogenic subjects as neighbors!

  9. Wayne
    9:21 am on 8/30/15

    Great story as usual and the pictures are wonderful. Love your personal accounts of natures gifts!

  10. Kathy
    4:41 pm on 8/30/15

    Thanks so much, Wayne. We’re fortunate to have a clear view of the nest and its daily dramas. This morning one of the youngsters brought his own fish to the nest, and an interloping osprey circled overhead for a few seconds. Dad wasted no time in swooping after the unwelcomed intruder and chasing it away, so his youngster could enjoy his catch. They will all be heading south soon.

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