Immature osprey flying over the Duquesne nest, 19 July 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
The nesting season is over for most ospreys in Pennsylvania and some are already on the move.
In early August young ospreys stay close to home and practice their fishing skills under dad’s watchful eye, but it’s likely their mother has already left on migration. This osprey family in Duquesne, PA is a case in point.
On July 19 Dana Nesiti photographed them when only two had fledged and their activity was still centered on the nest.
Immature osprey landing at the Duquesne nest while mom & siblings watch, 19 July 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
When Dana returned on July 25, all three had fledged and competition had intensified for their parents’ handouts. Below, the youngster at right has food while two others squabble over a fish. The bird on the far left grabbed his sibling by the wing to pull him away. “Give it to me!”
“Give it to me!” juvenile osprey grabs his sibling’s wing to get the fish, 25 July 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
The winner flew off with the live fish.
Juvenile osprey flies off with the prize: a live fish, 25 July 2015 (photo by Dana Nesiti)
But now more than two weeks later, the nest is not the focal point and the family will be hard to find.
Ospreys live in family groups during the breeding season but otherwise live alone. The family starts to break up shortly after the young fledge. Mom leaves before the kids are independent while dad stays behind to feed them for 10-20 days or more. When the youngsters are self sufficient they leave, too. Finally their father departs, 7 to 39 days after his lady left town.
Because they eat live fish North American ospreys don’t dare to linger where the water will freeze. They spend the winter in Central and South America and the Caribbean, each at his own favorite place. The adults won’t meet again until they return to their breeding territory. The juveniles will stay south for two to three years before they come north to breed for the first time.
After this family has left Duquense we’ll see other ospreys passing through but “our” birds will be gone until next spring.
(photos by Dana Nesiti)