Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The First Young of the Year!

Three ~5 day old young lay low in the nest.

On Tuesday, while out in the field along the Delaware Bayshore in Heislerville I stopped to check one osprey nest and observed the first young of the year! I noticed that the pair was no longer incubating from the behavior of the adults, so i decided to stop and check. When they have young they are not seen "sitting tight" or incubating any longer, this is usually an indication that they have young. This was the case on Wednesday. When I approached the nest with the boat, the adults left the platform and began calling in a defensive way to try and deter me (as they see me and any other human as a predator) from reaching the nest. The defensive calls warn other adults in the area and signal the young to lay down or "play dead" as you can see in the photo. The young "play dead" up until they are around 6 weeks old. After 6 weeks they are much larger and more closely resemble an adult and are more likely to stand up and defend themselves (see picture below).

The good news is that this nest is active this year and has 3 young! It was not active in 2008.

A 6 week old nestling exhibiting defensive behavior.

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