Goodbye, osprey! until next year…

It was around this time last year that I first started  becoming seriously interested in birding. An osprey nest near my work had piqued my interest, and soon enough, I was moving onto all kinds of other birds! But osprey will always be special to me after inspiring me to really become more interested in birding.

This year, I was prepared for them. With the coming of spring, I eagerly anticipated their arrival back north. Sure enough, in early April they were back. When I had a chance, I watched them this summer and it was quite a journey…

I watched the parents work on their nest. I waited and hoped for the pair to mate, and they did. After that, I was hopeful they would have chicks! And they did better than I ever imagined: three chicks successfully fledged this year! Watching them grow and feed and learn to fly over these last couple of months has been such a special experience.

Two juvenile osprey (left) are almost as big as their parents! (Adult osprey right)

By mid-August, the chicks were almost unrecognizable from the adults. Soon, the mother left the nest for the south while dad stuck around a little longer to help feed the chicks.

Juvenile osprey tests her wings.
Juvenile osprey are growing up and testing their wings…
...but it would still be nice if you brought me some fish, dad!
“…but it would still be nice if you brought me some fish, dad!” The juvenile calls from the nest.

Knowing summer was ending and the osprey would be gone soon, I took some time out one day to go watch them and say goodbye. They certainly put on a good last show for me; two fledglings were on the nest and the third was on another light post at the stadium.

A fledgling spread its wings and took off…
made a short flight…
…before coming back in to the nest for a landing.
She looked to be in good shape for flying with all that practice!

I was so happy to see all three fledglings that day, and to get to see one of them fly. The two of them then perched on or near the nest for a while, calling out just like they did as chicks! I couldn’t have asked for a nicer goodbye to the osprey.

It was a joy watching them grow and learn this summer as I learned more about them and I hope to see our osprey pair back next year! I will miss their calls and their flying and diving and I will miss eagerly going to watch them under the summer sun. But for now, I say goodbye to the osprey, enjoy the sunny skies in South America…until we meet again in April!

2 thoughts on “Goodbye, osprey! until next year…

  1. Lovely photos. I was just thinking today, as I drove past an empty osprey nest, how much I miss them already. I pass three active nests on my way to work everyday, and watched all three families throughout the summer; I’ve caught myself looking for them a few times the last couple weeks out of habit, but then remember they’re gone.

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