When is mom coming back with that fish?
I live down a rural road right along the marshy coast of Southeast Georgia.
Farther down the same road, in an area uninhabited by humans is an Osprey nest atop a high wire pole.
The Osprey is found on all continents except Antarctica. Some Ospreys from Florida and Southeast Georgia migrate to South America, while others stay put year-round.
This pair has abandoned the nest every year for the past 12, after its chicks fledge, and I assume it is the same pair to return the next Spring to begin a five-month period of partnership to raise their young.
A few years ago, while the nest was unoccupied we had a strong storm that came through that destroyed the nest completely. When the Ospreys returned in the Spring they immediately rebuilt it.
The female lays two to four eggs within a month, and relies on the size of the nest to conserve heat.
Early on I could only see two chicks, but it turns out she has three. I suspect that the last chick to hatch was still not strong enough to peep over the edge the first time I was there.
A newly hatched chick weighs only 2 oz, but grows quickly and fledges in 8–10 weeks. This pairs first born will probably fledge within the next week or so, and take to the air on its first solo flight.
Here is a little background on the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus):
This magnificent bird is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings.
It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly grayish on the head and under parts, with a black eye patch and wings.
It is sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish hawk and its diet consists almost exclusively of fish.
You usually do not see the pair in the nest at the same time. One is usually out fishing which the other tends the nest. Once the chicks maute some the parents will sometimes both leave the nest of provide food for growing appetites.
The adult sexes appear fairly similar, but the adult male can be distinguished from the female by its slimmer body and narrower wings. Also the breast band of the male is also weaker than that of the female, or is non-existent, and the under wing coverts of the male are more uniformly pale. The male, of this pair, is noticeably smaller.
It's pretty straightforward to determine the sex in a breeding pair seen together, but harder with individual birds.
Ospreys usually mate for life.
The nest the pair builds is a large heap of sticks, driftwood and seaweed built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, artificial platforms, or utility poles like this one. They don't seem to like build nests on low utility poles and prefer the height of the higher power lines. They also don't like to build nests close to populated areas.
If one gets too close to the nest, or there appears to be a threat of some kind, the Osprey will let out a series of strong high -pitched whistles that carry a pretty good distance.