An Osprey Family Album

These photos were taken along the Provo River near Utah Lake
between the 2nd of July and the 31st of August 2003.

Part 1     ( Part 2 Part 3, Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Changing Chick Profile)
(Printable Copy)


Using a man-made platform at the top of a pole in an open field, a pair of Ospreys accumulated nesting materials and set about starting a family.  Sometime in late May or early June the female laid some nice-looking white to pink or cinnamon eggs heavily blotched and spotted with dark brown and began the incubation process which takes a little over a month of pretty much constant sitting.  The males job is to feed the female while she keeps the eggs at the right temperature until they hatch.  This could explain why the female is slightly larger than the male, though it's not clear whether it would be from the male being over-worked or the female having a bit more sedentary roll in the family.

 

 

  
Photos from July 2nd

After the "big sit," three chicks emerged from their shells and found that they were hungry after being balled up for so long and having nothing but yolk to sustain themselves.  Having placed the nest strategically by the fish-laden Provo River and Utah Lake, it didn't take the male but a minute or two to swoop down, plunge head- and feet-first into the water, grab a fish with its special barbed pad on the soles of its feet, adjust the fish so the head is pointing forward to decrease the air resistance and fly back to the waiting new-born chicks and their vigilant mother.

[Note two of the chicks, hardly visibly,  huddling together by their mother].

 

According to the report of a local primate (Homo sapiens) living near by, the mother Osprey spent hours shading the young Ospreys from the unusually hot summer sun.  With her wingspan of typically around 5 feet , she would be able to provide enough shadow for the vulnerable chicks for several weeks before they mature a bit.

 

 

   
Photos from July 8th

A steady supply of food must be provided for the young birds who will fledge just under two months after hatching.
Already becoming more independent, the little one practices his fierce raptor stare which is starting to look quite convincing.

  
Photos from July 14th

The chicks are starting to bulk up and feather out--not looking quite so baffled and intimidated.
The space in the nest being limited, the male spends a lot of his time keeping watch from a nearby pole.  He drops in regularly to bring a fish for dinner and pops in every now and then just for a visit.

  
Go to Part 2

   
Photos and text by Milt Moody
Copyright 2003 Milton G. Moody All Rights Reserved