When I went for my morning walk today I was thinking about how I missed all the birds and then I heard the “chewk-chewk-chewk” of an osprey. I looked up and there were two birds circling overhead so I looked down at the osprey platform and to my great surprise a fledgling was there, waiting for food! What a treat!
If you are an osprey lover like I am then go over to Matunuck, RI next summer. There, standing in the wetlands, is an osprey platform. Ospreys began to nest thereonly a few years ago, which is undoubtedly attributable to the fact that ospreys have bounced back from about 55 nests around coastal RI in 2000 to 104 nests in 2008. In fact, ospreys have been taken off the endangered list and are now regarded only as threatened.
The osprey family that lives in Matunuck produces one brood, usually with two chicks, each year. Family ties are strong, which is rather necessary considering that incubation takes two to six weeks and the hatchlings remain in the nest for seven to eight weeks. So, for as much as 14 weeks…that’s more than three months…the family stays together. This is nirvana for osprey watchers because they are there all summer.
John James Audubon wrote this about ospreys: “During the incubation period the male bird is now and then observed rising to an immense height in the air, over the spot where his mate is seated. When [he] has attained [his] utmost elevation, which is sometimes such that the eye can no longer perceive him, he utters a loud shriek, and dives smoothly on half-extended wings towards his nest. But before he reaches it, he is seen to expand his wings and tail, and in this manner he glides towards his beloved female, in a beautifully curved line. The female partially raises herself from her eggs, emits a low cry, resumes her former posture, and her delighted partner flies off to the sea, to seek a favourite fish for her whom he loves.”
What a magnificent bird!