24 June 2013

Now that KG and JB have fledged, they will spend the next few weeks strengthening their bodies and learning to fish for themselves. The success rate for fishing is affected by individual ability, weather and tide. KG and JB will need to hone their skills as their parents may only continue to feed them for several more weeks.

The juveniles resemble the adults in almost every aspect, but their dark back feathers are white-tipped, their eyes are orange, and they tend to have fewer markings on their chests (necklace). Juvenile plumage is generally replaced by adult plumage be 18 months of age.

Most likely the ospreys will migrate further south to Georgia, Florida or to South America. Since Hilton Head is on the edge of the year round/breeding area, we do have a few osprey winter here. Ever since our web cam has been in operation (2007), we’ve yet to see osprey on the platform during the winter months.

21 June 2013

The osprey gallery has been updated with 42 new photos. Hope you enjoy them.
At 7:45 am today KG finally fledged.  Will see how he/she fares upon its return to the platform.

KG returned to the platform seven minutes after taking off.  JB's greeted KG's return with much squawking and wing flapping.  They both seem to be sizing up the other now.

20 June 2013

JB fledged this morning at 6:53 a.m.  Upon his/her return to the platform at 9:18 a.m., KG seemed flustered and jumped on top of JB.  I suppose a bit of sibling rivalry.  KG still hasn't left the nest as of this post - only lifting itself about three feet above the platform.

17 June 2013

It could be any time now for KG to fledge as the juvenile flapped its wings and hovered over the nest for almost 10 seconds.

14 June 2013

Both KG and JB have been fervently flapping their wings and jumping around the platform this past week.  It could be any time now that one or both take the momentous flight off the platform.

The length of their first flight remains to be seen as the nearest trees from the platform is about 100 feet or so, the height of the tower. Their first attempts at flight may be short lived as they soon become tired and look for a place to perch. As KG and JB gain confidence in flying and landing, they will remain at the tower with Bea and Jasper.

10 June 2013

KG and JB have developed into beautiful juveniles and are soon approaching their first flight, also known as fledging. The normal fledging time ranges between 8 - 10 weeks, sometimes as early as 6 weeks, and as of today KG is 42 days old and JB is 41 days old.

As their first flight time nears, both birds will increase their wing flapping which causes them to become stronger. They may also be observed jumping up and down until a gust of wind will carry them off the nest beginning their first flight. Jasper and Bea will not teach KG and JB to fly, they will fly instinctively.

It's important for KG and JB to fly as much as possible after fledging as they all will make their Central or South America trip alone, provided they do migrate. As mentioned in previous posts, Hilton Head does have some osprey year round, though since we do not band ospreys on our communications tower we are not sure if any of these yearly osprey are from our nest.

From the photos it appears that KG is female (1st photo) and JB being male (2nd photo). The "necklace" on KG is quite prominent, but not always a good indicator of a juvenile osprey's sex. Chicks can start out with a necklace, but lose it as they mature. The better indicator will be its size (3rd photo). Females average about 15–20% larger in body mass than males, and 5–10% longer in wing, tail, claw, and bill length. In addition, females tend to have fuller, darker breast-bands and darker heads than males.

I added photos to the gallery. Check them out!

07 June 2013

Tropical storm Andrea has passed and our osprey family is doing well. Our area is under tropical storm warnings until 1:45 p.m. The storm's center passed over Bluffton, just west of Hilton Head, this morning after 4 a.m. Fishing for Jasper may be a bit more difficult, but I'm sure he'll do fine providing for KG and JB.